Millionaire’s son who mowed down and killed child actor and aunt in high-speed joyride is jailed

A millionaire’s son who killed a child actor and his aunt in a high-speed police chase has been jailed for 12 years.

Joshua Dobby, 23, was driving at three times the speed limit when he killed Makayah McDermott, 10, and Rosie Cooper, 34, while behind the wheel of a stolen car.

Dobby, who admitted manslaughter charges, was out of prison on licence when he killed the pair in August last year in Penge, south-east London.

The cowardly criminal fled the scene of the crime after the double killing, stepping over the badly maimed body of another young child to make good his escape.

Family members wiped away tears and shielded their eyes as horrific footage of the crash was played at the Old Bailey.

After he was sentenced to 12 years with a further three on extended licence, the victims’ family said they were "disappointed".

They said in a statement outside court: "We came here today to see justice done and in the hope that Joshua Dobby would show remorse and be sorry for killing our beautiful Rosie and our wonderful Makayah. But he has shown none."

Makayah’s grieving grandfather, Martin Cooper, accused him of treating his family as "worthless" and "expendable".

He told how he watched helplessly as Dobby lost control and launched the car at his daughter and four grandchildren.

In a statement, he said: "On that day, I was there. I watched the car drive into and over all five members of my family.

"I watched as the driver of the car made no attempt to stop or apply the brakes and no attempt to swerve."

He added: "In front of my eyes, my daughter Rozanne and my grandchildren all became worthless in the eyes of the man driving the car, a means to an end.

"They all became expendable and their only value was to create a scene of death and destruction, forcing the police to end their pursuit of him.

"For the sake of a day or two on the run, he sacrificed the life of my daughter and grandson, killing them and mutilating my granddaughter."

Dobby – who was in the grips of a £60-a-day drug habit at the time – is the estranged son of millionaire pet food wholesaler Mark Dobby, 51, who lives in a £2m house and also runs investment and property letting companies.

Dobby buried his face in his hands in court and sobbed "I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done" as details of his crime were read out.

He lost control of the stolen Ford Focus, mounted the pavement and hit a bollard, which launched the car into the air before landing on the Cooper family as they walked to the park to get some ice cream.

He leapt out of the wreckage and fled on foot, leaving police officers to try desperately to save the victims.

Dobby has never held a driving licence and has 53 previous convictions dating back to age 13, including aggravated vehicle taking.

He had smoked crack cocaine and heroin the night before the double killing, and was on his way to sell the stolen car for £300 to buy more drugs at the time of the incident.

Makayah died from 40 injuries and his aunt had 53 wounds while another young child suffered serious leg injuries.

Dobby was heard to shout: "I’ve killed her! I’ve killed her!" as he was pursued by police on foot.

After he was arrested, he said: "I was driving I admit it. I should have just stopped.

"I don’t want to go back to jail, now I might have killed innocent people."

The court was played dramatic police dashcam footage of Dobby’s erratic high-speed driving before the accident.

In a letter from jail, he told his girlfriend: "After all this s***, I swear by almighty God that I will never put another drug in my body. I take oath on that.

"Two people have lost their lives cos of my selfish f***ing actions and it all boils down to drugs.

"It should have been me that lost my life but it wasn’t. I still have a life and I’m determined to do something with it for the sake of that child."

Dobby said from the witness box: "It was reckless. It was stupid. I understand I caused people hurt and pain.

"I know sorry doesn’t cut the mustard, but I’m truly sorry for what I have done."

He was brought before the courts just two months before the deaths of Makayah and his aunt and was on licence at the time.

Mitigating, Tyrone Smith QC said: "His upbringing can only be described as horrific.

"Those people responsible for parenting him failed in the most lamentable way to protect him from drugs, provide a safe and loving environment and maximise the positive aspects of his character."

Dobby’s earliest conviction dated back to when he was aged 13 and Dobby had been stealing to feed his drug habit since the age of 14, even snatching necklaces from women’s necks, the court heard.

At the age of 16, Dobby was convicted of aggravated vehicle taking, having crashed a car into railings with police in pursuit.

Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC also sentenced Dobby for 16 months concurrent for dangerous driving relating to an incident on August 26 last year on the A228 near Snodland in Kent.

He took account of Dobby’s life which was "unhappy and very difficult and not always of your own making" which contributed to "poor decision making" and found he was a significant risk to the public in the future.

Even though Dobby did not have a driving licence, the judge further disqualified him for 15 years.

Dobby shrugged at the family of his victims as he was sent down.

At the time of the deaths, Sam Brown, of entertainment agency Brown and Mills, described Makayah as an "extremely talented young actor" and a "bright young star".

He had recently auditioned for a role in a television series and had featured in a number of adverts.

Hairdresser Ms Cooper was hailed by a friend as "one of the kindest, most beautiful, caring people you would ever meet".

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is still investigating the incident.

After sentencing, Detective Sergeant Jo Densham, from the Met’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: "Dobby is a highly dangerous individual who showed a blatant disregard for the safety of other individuals who might be affected by his actions.

"We hope that this sentence – while it will never make up for the tragic loss of loved ones for the families involved – will act as a deterrent to others."

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