Man charged over deaths of child actor and aunt in police chase crash

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A man has been charged over the deaths of a young actor and his aunt who were hit by a car being chased by police.

Makayah McDermott, 10, and Rosie Cooper, 34, were walking along Lennard Road in Penge, south-east London, when the vehicle ploughed into them on Wednesday afternoon.

Joshua Dobby, 23, of no fixed address, will appear at Bromley Magistrates' Court on Friday, charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, Scotland Yard said.

Dobby is also charged with one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, two counts of causing death by driving while unlicensed and uninsured, and two counts of aggravated vehicle-taking.

Ms Cooper and Makayah were with his two sisters, 13-year-old twins Niyah and Yahla, and an eight-year-old girl who is also related to them when they were hit by the car at around 2pm.

The twins were trapped underneath the black Ford Focus but managed to crawl out when bystanders lifted the car off them.

All three girls were taken to hospital but have since been released.

Makayah was a talented performer and just last week had an audition for a part in a television series set in the 1950s.

His agent, Sam Brown, managing director of Brown and Mills Entertainment, said she signed Makayah in June, and described his family as "a very, very talented bunch".

She told the Press Association he was full of charisma and took everything in his stride, saying: "He was a real bright character, ever so outgoing, and he just picked up scripts and could just go with it, you know, a natural talent.

"It's a hard industry but I really believed in him."

Makayah practised taekwondo, and Lisa Pitman, of Virtue Taekwon-Do, who had taught him since the age of four, called him an "incredible child".

She said: "We are in shock and gutted ... the family are beautiful, incredible, caring people. They will be indescribably devastated, just as we are."

Samantha Dobson, who had been a client and friend of hairdresser Ms Cooper for a decade, tearfully placed a floral tribute and card at the scene of the incident.

Describing her friend, she said: "She was one of the kindest, most beautiful, caring people you would ever meet. Her life was her family and her daughter. Her unit was her mum, her sister and her nieces and nephews."

A teaching assistant who taught Makayah at Alexandra Infant School described the youngster as a "bubbly boy" who always had a smile on his face.

Laying flowers at the scene, the TA, who did not want to be named, said: "He was a bubbly character. Very popular, well-loved, well-liked. He was always smiling. And had always been enthusiastic about acting and sport."