Police officer’s son is jailed for three months for driving while disqualified

Police officer’s son is jailed for three months for driving while banned just weeks after he mowed down and killed two people when high on cannabis but was never prosecuted over the deaths

  • Max Coopey, 18, smoked cannabis last August then drove his parents’ Audi into John Shackley, 61, and Jason Imi, 48, killing both men 
  • Police officers’ son Coopey pleaded guilty to drug-driving but was not jailed 
  • Weeks after the crash, while disqualified, he got back behind the wheel
  • Sentencing Coopey for driving while disqualified the District Judge at Reading Magistrates Court said: ‘If you carry on driving like this you will kill someone’

Max Coopey, 18, (pictured) was found to have got behind the wheel of a car while disqualified from driving

A police officers’ son who hit and killed two men while driving his parents’ Audi high on cannabis but avoided prison has been jailed for gettng back behind the wheel just weeks later, while disqualified.

Max Coopey, 18, the son of a police sergeant and a former policewoman, killed father-of-three Jason Imi, 48, and his colleague John Shackley, 61, as they were walking back from dinner in Ascot last August.

Thames Valley Police prosecuted Coopey themselves rather than passing the file to the Crown Prosecution Service, and did so only for drug driving on the grounds they could not make a case for causing death by careless or dangerous driving. He was sentenced to 100 hours community service.

But just 17 days after killing the two men, Coopey got back behind the wheel on August 19, 2018, despite having been banned from the road following the death crash.

Despite claiming the police had mistaken him for a friend, Coopey was convicted earlier this month of driving while disqualified.

Today at Reading Magistrates Court he was jailed for 12 weeks.

Jason Imi with his wife of 18 years, Sarah. She told the court their future together had been stolen from them

Jason Imi with his wife of 18 years, Sarah. She told the court their future together had been stolen from them 

District Judge Davinder Lachhar told Coopey: ‘You have got other driving matters, driving while drugs are in your body. 

‘One day you’re going to kill somebody.

‘This court has a duty to protect other road users.

‘As far as I am concerned, a car is a weapon and a weapon that could do a lot of damage.’

His trial heard that PCSO Gary Clarke was actively looking for Coopey on the day he spotted him at 7.20pm in the driving seat of his mother’s silver Renault Clio, having been briefed that Coopey was continuing to drive illegally and given a picture of him which he kept on his work desk at Ascot police station.

Travelling at 10mph past Coopey’s vehicle, PCSO Clarke saw the teenager ‘full face’ for four to five seconds and said: ‘He tried to look down at the driver’s seat but I could still see his face.’

Coopey told DJ Lachhar that his friend Kieran Shepherd had been driving, while he had been in the passenger seat using his phone.

John Shackley, 61, was returning to a hotel in Ascot from a dinner with colleagues when he was hit by the car driven by Max Coopey

John Shackley, 61, was returning to a hotel in Ascot from a dinner with colleagues when he was hit by the car driven by Max Coopey

Killed: John Shackley pictured with his granddaughter. Eight weeks before he killed the two men, Coopey had been stopped by police and found to be almost three-times over the drug-drive limit

Killed: John Shackley pictured with his granddaughter. Eight weeks before he killed the two men, Coopey had been stopped by police and found to be almost three-times over the drug-drive limit

When Mr Shepherd gave evidence, he said the car was kept at Coopey’s address, but backed up Coopey’s claim that he was the one driving.

But DJ Lachhar rejected the claims, saying: ‘To be perfectly honest, I don’t actually believe either of you.

‘I think you both agreed that one of you was going to say he was driver but when one looks at your evidence it is clear I cannot believe either of you.’

Today, Shona Probert, prosecuting, told the court Coopey’s offence was ‘severely aggravated’ by his previous convictions.

Judge Lachhar said: ‘He’s has quite a record doesn’t he? He has been very lucky in getting very lenient sentences.

‘He is a very lucky young man, he has a supportive family, they would do anything for him and yet here he is, before the courts on a number of occasions.’

Before Coopey was sentenced he told probation officers he had been suffering from mental health issues in the run up to his hearing. 

A statement from probation officers Coopey’s compliance with the Youth Rehabilitation Order he was sentenced to after the fatal collision with killed Mr Shackley and Mr Imi was ‘poor overall’ and he had completed only 34.15 hours of his unpaid work, leaving 65 hours remaining to complete.

‘He has missed a number of engagements and has provided a number of reasons why,’ it said. 

Defending, Rebecca Hadgett recommended an intensive supervision order and a suspended sentence.

Judge Lachhar replied: ‘He’s had a number of orders. Since 2015, he’s been supervised. He’s had all that. He’s had everything that could have been.’

His victims, who were crossing the road, were struck with such force, they were flung over the roof of the car and died immediately (pictured: Floral tribute)

His victims, who were crossing the road, were struck with such force, they were flung over the roof of the car and died immediately (pictured: Floral tribute)

Sentencing blond-haired Coopey, who was in court wearing a white shirt, Judge Lachhar told him: ‘You have been appearing before the criminal courts for some time.

‘Since 2015 you have in fact been helped by people, all the community orders that have been tried, curfews you have had since 2015, you have community orders, you had been under supervision for two years before this offence in fact, and here you are.

‘It is not as if you are not cared for, abandoned, not looked after by your family. You have a lot of advantages that a lot of young people coming to criminal courts do not have, a lot of advantages and what have you done with it? Nothing.

‘I am not convinced at all you have changed your ways.’

The judge said she had seen no medical evidence which demonstrated Coopey had mental health issues and cited the need to protect the public, saying a suspended sentence would not serve a purpose in her view.

Judge Lachhar added: ‘There are consequences and the consequences are serious. I have a duty to protect members of the public from people like you who do not seem to be taking any notice of the driving laws or anything else for that matter.’

The judge jailed Coopey for 12 weeks, adding he would serve 12 months on licence when he was released, disqualified him from driving for an additional six months and fined him £100 for being an hour-and-a-half late for his trial.

This weekend famlies of the men killed last August by Coopey demanded police reopen the case. 

Mr Shackley’s daughter Danielle, 31, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We are not getting any justice at all. 

‘How can you get behind the wheel of a car while you are high on drugs, kill two people and not go to prison for it?’

Lawyers for the families say Coopey’s account of the crash suggests he may have been speeding, which should have led to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) considering charging him with causing death by dangerous driving. 

They believe the police investigation was ‘flawed’ and are ‘baffled’ why officers did not submit a file of evidence to the CPS. 

Meanwhile Thames Valley Police said it was ‘reviewing’ statements made by Coopey at the inquest. He gave a ‘no comment’ interview to police on the night of the crash.

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