Officer charged over two deaths during police pursuit

Penge (PA Archive)
18:56pm, Tue 18 May 2021
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A Metropolitan Police officer has been charged over the deaths of a child actor and his aunt, after a car crash that killed them both in south-east London.

Police constable Edward Welch faces four charges involving dangerous driving after Makayah McDermott, 10, and Rozanne Cooper, 34, were killed in a police chase almost five years ago.

A stolen black Ford Focus, driven by convicted car thief Joshua Dobby, then aged 23, hit the pair as they walked along Lennard Road in Penge in August 2016.

Makayah McDermott (PA Media)

Dobby had been driving at three times the speed limit down one-way roads and through red lights to evade officers, before losing control.

In August 2017, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) provided a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) relating to Pc Welch’s actions during the pursuit.

It was announced that an investigation was being launched and that Pc Welch, along with another officer involved in the chase, could face criminal charges.

On Tuesday, the CPS authorised the charges of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and dangerous driving.

The second officer has not been charged, as the CPS concluded the legal test for a prosecution had not been met, the IOPC said.

Joshua Dobby court case (PA Media)

In June 2019, an inquest determined Makayah and Ms Cooper were unlawfully killed by Dobby.

Dobby, the drug addict son of a millionaire, was jailed for 12 years for two counts of manslaughter with a further three to serve on licence in February 2017.

At the time of the crash, he was out on licence and was on his way to sell the stolen car for £300 to buy more drugs, the Old Bailey heard.

Dobby had hit a bollard before ploughing into Makayah and Ms Cooper, and three other members of the family, two aged 13 and one aged eight.

After the crash, he jumped out of the car and ran from the scene.

The court date and location for Pc Welch’s first appearance has not yet been fixed.

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