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Drug addict jailed for 12 years for ploughing into child actor and aunt

The drug addict son of a millionaire has been jailed for 12 years for mowing down a child actor and his aunt in a stolen car to evade police.

Convicted car thief Joshua Dobby, 23, was out on licence when he ploughed into Makayah McDermott, 10, and Rosie Cooper, 34, as they walked along Lennard Road in Penge, south London.

He stepped over the badly maimed body of another young child to make good his escape.

Dobby, who had 53 previous convictions dating back to the age of 13, admitted two counts of manslaughter and injuring the girl in August last year.

After he was sentenced to 12 years with a further three on extended licence, the 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."

Earlier, Makayah's grieving grandfather accused Dobby of treating his family as "worthless" and "expendable".

Martin Cooper 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.

"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 wept in the dock as prosecutor Anthony Orchard QC outlined the facts of the case.

On the afternoon of August 31 last year, the Cooper family were on their way to have ice creams and play on the swings.

Dobby was driving a black Ford Focus at three times the speed limit down one-way roads and jumped red lights before he lost control, hit a bollard and launched the car into the group.

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

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 dash cam footage of Dobby's erratic high-speed driving before the accident.

In a letter from jail, he told his girlfriend: "After all this shit, 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."

Giving evidence, Dobby admitted he was "stupid and reckless" and had been coming down from smoking crack cocaine and heroin.

He was on his way to sell the stolen car for £300 to buy more drugs when he killed Ms Cooper and Makayah.

He said: "I understand I have caused a lot of hurt and pain. I'm truly sorry for what I've done."

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."

His 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.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the circumstances of the crash on August 31 last year.

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