Thursday 8 December 2016

'A beautiful child with a bright future' - tributes paid to child actor (10) and his aunt killed by stolen car as witnesses describe scene as 'complete carnage'

Published 01/09/2016 | 12:23

Makayah McDermott
Makayah McDermott
Rosie Cooper
Police at the scene in Lennard Road, Penge in in south-east London after a car being chased by police has ploughed into a family leaving two people dead
A forensic police officer examines a car at the scene in Lennard Road, Penge in south-east London after a car being chased by police has ploughed into a family leaving two people dead
People arrive to leave flowers on Lennard Road in Penge, south-east London, where a car being chased by police ploughed into a family leaving two people dead
People lay flowers Lennard Road in Penge, south-east London, where a car being chased by police ploughed into a family leaving two people dead

A 10-year-old boy mown down and killed alongside his aunt by a suspected stolen car being chased by police has been described as "an incredible child".

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Tributes have been paid to Makayah McDermott and Rosie Cooper, 34, who were walking along Lennard Road when the vehicle ploughed in to them in Penge, south-east London on Wednesday afternoon.

A forensic police officer examines a car at the scene in Lennard Road, Penge in south-east London after a car being chased by police has ploughed into a family leaving two people dead
A forensic police officer examines a car at the scene in Lennard Road, Penge in south-east London after a car being chased by police has ploughed into a family leaving two people dead

Two 13-year-olds and an eight-year-old girl, all related to the pair, have since been released from hospital.

Two of the girls, named as Niyah and Yahla, Makayah's older sisters, had been injured after being trapped underneath the car and managed to crawl out when bystanders lifted it off them.

Rosie Cooper
Rosie Cooper

Read More: Woman and boy dead after car chased by police crashes into family

Those who knew the family described their devastation following the "freak accident" and said they were close-knit.

People arrive to leave flowers on Lennard Road in Penge, south-east London, where a car being chased by police ploughed into a family leaving two people dead
People arrive to leave flowers on Lennard Road in Penge, south-east London, where a car being chased by police ploughed into a family leaving two people dead

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

Lisa Pitman of Virtue Taekwon-Do had known him since he was four years old.

People lay flowers Lennard Road in Penge, south-east London, where a car being chased by police ploughed into a family leaving two people dead
People lay flowers Lennard Road in Penge, south-east London, where a car being chased by police ploughed into a family leaving two people dead

Paying tribute to him and his family she said: "We are in shock and gutted, such an incredible child, we have been teaching him since the age of four years.

"This is the most tragic freak accident, the family are beautiful, incredible, caring people. They will be indescribably devastated, just as we are."

Ms Cooper's neighbour said she often saw the young mother with her nieces and nephews.

Jackie Francis, from Beckenham, said: "We were neighbourly. She was a really nice girl. We would say hello as she came and went.

"I just couldn't believe it when I heard.

"She was a typical young mother, always with the children, she was very fond of her children.

"It's just horrible. They were a close family, undoubtedly close."

Ms Francis added that Ms Cooper's daughter was "quite athletic" and would often play outside "doing cartwheels".

A single red rose and a card addressed to "Rose's family" lay on Ms Cooper's doorstep.

In the aftermath of the incident one distraught woman described how she tried to resuscitate Ms Cooper.

Venissa Vassell, 18, who ran from a nearby railway station to help, said: "I did CPR on this lady. I blew in her mouth."

She added that Makayah was fine one moment, but then "by the time I came back to speak to the little girl to say 'your brother is all right', he was passed out."

Police are continuing to question a 23-year-old man who was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and theft of a vehicle.

Lennard Road was cordoned off as police carried out investigations, and reopened shortly after midnight.

Scotland Yard said: "Inquiries into the collision continue by officers from the Roads and Transport Policing Command - anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

"The Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) were also informed and will investigate this incident independently."

There were 498 crashes involving a pursuit by Metropolitan Police officers in London in 2015/16, up from 434 in the previous year. There were 474 such collisions in 2013/14.

In England and Wales there were 21 fatalities in 20 police-related road traffic incidents in 2015/16, up from 14 the previous year.

However, the IPCC said it was the fourth lowest figure since 2004/5.

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