05:03PM, Tuesday 29 October 2019
A teenage driver who was caught behind the wheel while under investigation for the death of two pedestrians he hit and killed has been jailed.
Police handed Max Coopey, 18, an interim driving ban in October last year as it looked into the deaths of 48-year-old Jason Imi, from Twickenham, and 61-year-old John Shackley from Deanshanger, near Milton Keynes.
The pair were knocked over and killed by Coopey, then 17, as they crossed the A329 London Road to get to the Royal Berkshire Hotel, Sunninghill, shortly before 11.30pm on August 2, 2018.
But on October 19, just nine days after being handed a temporary driving ban, Coopey, of The Burlings, Ascot, was spotted by a police community support officer driving a silver Renault Clio on Burleigh Road.
He claimed the incident was ‘mistaken identity’ but was subsequently charged with driving while disqualified and driving without insurance and was found guilty at a short trial at Reading Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.
During sentencing at the same court today, district judge Davinder Lachhar told Coopey that she had been left with ‘no alternative’ but to jail him.
Judge Lachhar said: “There’s no point in handing out more community orders because you’re not complying with what you already have.
“I have no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence as I can’t see what a suspended sentence will do.
“You need to learn that you’re driving a weapon and there are consequences."
She added: "I have a duty to protect members of the public from people like you."
In July this year, a coroner ruled that Coopey did not commit an unlawful killing with regards to the deaths of Mr Imi and Mr Shackley.
The 18-year-old pleaded guilty to drug-driving in relation to the crash and was handed a two-year driving ban and 100 hours of community service.
He was not charged with causing death by dangerous driving.
Rebecca Hadgett, defending, told the court today that Coopey, whose father is a serving police officer, had ‘issues with maturity’ and the offences had been committed while he was still 17.
She said: “Even after turning 18, maturity doesn’t happen overnight and, as the probation service noted, he does have issues with maturity.”
Judge Lachhar sentenced the teenager to 12 weeks imprisonment and also fined him £100 for arriving late for his previous court appearance on October 16.
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