Drug-driver could face fresh police probe after inquest into Milton Keynes rugby coach's death

A teenage drug-driver who killed a Milton Keynes rugby coach could face a new police investigation following an inquest.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 3:30 pm

Max Coopey was high on cannabis and driving his police sergeant father's powerful car when he ploughed into pedestrian John Sharkey and his colleague Jason Imi.

But earlier this year, Coopey walked free from court after police decided not to charge him with causing the deaths of the two men.

Mr Shackley, 61, and 48-year-old Mr Imi, 48, were returning to their hotel after a works dinner in Reading in August last year when they were hit by the powerful Audi car. They were both killed instantly.

John Shackley

As there were no witnesses, police relied on an accident investigation reconstruction report prepared by a police collision investigator, which absolved 17-year-old Coopey of any blame.

He was sentenced in January to a new youth rehabilitation order, to replace the one he was already serving for drug-driving eight weeks before the fatal crash.

He was also disqualified from driving for 24 months and charged £105 in costs, which his parents said they would pay. His mother, Catherine Coopey, is a police constable with a speciality for school liaison and his father, Russel Coopey is a police sergeant in the Met.

But at an inquest months later into the deaths, Coopey told what had happened that night.

Max Coopey

He said he saw the two figures crossing the road and "slammed" his foot on the brake immediately.

But the lawyer for the Shackley family, Nicholas Hinchliffe QC said a tyre mark on the road showed Coopey had only applied the brakes at the point of impact - despite having at least two seconds to react.

This week police confirmed they would be examining Max Coopey's speech to the inquest.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: "A review of the statements made by Max Coopey during the inquest into the deaths of Jason Imi and John Shackley is currently being undertaken."

This review could mean Coopey, who is now aged 18, could end up being charged over causing the men's deaths.

John Shackley's daughter Danielle said: "Coopey is basically sat there laughing at us. We cannot rest and we cannot grieve. We are not getting any justice at all and we are not being treated properly.

"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?"

Mr Shackley’s widow Christine said: "I blame his parents as much as him. How can they keep making excuses for him? They should have made him face up to the mistakes he has made."