Drug driver spared jail after killing Buckingham Rugby Coach and colleague

The teenage son of two police officers who took drugs and drove his parents’ car killing a Buckingham rugby coach and another pedestrian has been spared jail.
Buckingham rugby coach John Shackley, 61Buckingham rugby coach John Shackley, 61
Buckingham rugby coach John Shackley, 61

Max Coopey, 18, smoked cannabis a few hours before he went out in the powerful Audi.

He said he did not see the two men crossing the road.

Buckingham rugby coach John Shackley, 61 and his colleague Jason Imi, 48, were returning to their hotel after a works dinner in Reading in August last year.

They were both killed instantly.

Coopey has notched six criminal convictions, mainly for drugs, since he was 12.

But Thames Valley Police did not prosecute him for causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a hefty prison sentence, because they said there was no evidence of impaired driving.

Instead he was charged with drug-driving and was given 100 hours of community service, banned from driving for two years, and ordered to pay £105 costs.

The trial took place in January but it is only this week, as Coopey turned 18, that his name could be disclosed.

The court heard he saw two bodies “curled up” on the ground after the collision and then fled home because he was scared of his mum finding out.

During the trial he said: “It was the most unfortunate thing. It has really affected my mental well being.”

A witness statement from John Shackley’s widow was read out in court.

She said: “I previously worked in a school setting. I know that some kids need some extra discipline.

“To assist them to choose the right life path is something that parents need to do to get them to avoid getting into dangerous situations.”

Coopey’s mother, who was a Met Police schools liaison officer until last year, told the court she was sorry for the families affected.

She said her son had been “nicer” at the family’s Ascot home since the incident and saw no evidence of him taking drugs “at the moment”.

The two deaths had been a “real wake-up call,” she said.

At the time of Mr Shackey’s death Yan Copley of Buckingham Rugby Club issued the following statement on behalf of the team.

“It is with great sadness that i announce the death of John Shackley. John died in a car accident last night. He was an Academy coach between 2012 and 2014 and previously a junior coach starting with the under 7’s.

“Those of you that knew John will know what a wonderful role model he was to the young lads he coached, many of whom now represent our Club at senior level. He had a wonderful sense of humour and was a true gent.

"He grew up in South Africa, where he played rugby at a high level and he was at his happiest when the ground was hard and the sun was out.

"He always had time for a chat with the parents and to console a hungover teenager and to calm me down.

“John was dedicated to Buckingham Rugby, choosing to stay with the lads he coached and loved even though his son Liam moved to Towcester to play with his school mates.

"After his coaching retirement he could often be found supporting the seniors where many of ‘his boys’ now play and was always willing to reminisce the good times over a beer.

“His fellow coaches will miss him dearly and all at the Club send our thought and love to his family at this difficult time.