A police officer has been cleared of causing the death of 10-year-old Makayah Dermot and his aunt, 34-year-old Rozanne Cooper, after the driver of a stolen car lost control of his vehicle and struck the pair as they walked on the pavement.
23-year-old Joshua Dobby fled from the police in a stolen car and was driving at speeds of up to 60 mph in a 20 mph zone when he lost control of the stolen vehicle and struck his victims.
Dobby mounted the pavement and hit the ten-year-old child actor and his aunt in Penge, southeast London, on 31st August 2016. A third child also involved in the terrifying crash sustained serious injuries.
For the last six years, PC Edward Welch, 34, maintained his innocence and claimed that he had been trying to protect the public when Dobby decided to risk the lives of innocent members of the public when he fled from the police in a stolen vehicle.
The advanced (Class 1) pursuit officer had activated the lights and sirens on his marked police BMW in an attempt to stop Dobby.
Following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, PC Welch was charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and one count of dangerous driving.
PC Welch stood accused of causing the deaths of Makayah and Ms Cooper even though Dobby had already been convicted of manslaughter.
A second, now former officer, who was with PC Welch was not charged despite the IOPC putting a file together against the officer, as the Crown Prosecution Service concluded the legal test for a prosecution was not met for any alleged offences
However, in under two hours of deliberation, a jury cleared the officer of all charges today, Wednesday, 7th December.
Dobby, the estranged son of millionaire pet food wholesaler Mark Dobby, was previously convicted of two counts of manslaughter by gross negligence at the Old Bailey.
In March 2017, Dobby – who has never held a driving licence and is a career criminal with 53 previous convictions under his belt – was jailed for 12 years.
Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson KC told the court the Ford Focus had been stolen six days before the collision by Dobby.
PC Welch – an advanced police driver – joined the Police in 2008. He had completed over two months’ worth of advanced driving courses before being allowed to pursue vehicles in high-powered police vehicles such as the BMW he was driving when the incident occurred.
Being an advanced driver, part of PC Welch’s job was to pursue vehicles which fail to stop for the police.
The IOPCs investigation concluded in August 2017. In June 2019, an inquest determined that Dobby unlawfully killed Makayah and Ms Cooper. On Tuesday, 18th May 2021 – five years after the tragic deaths – the Crown Prosecution Service authorised the criminal charges against PC Welch.
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