Chelsea: Woman and three dogs were killed by Acton driver on drugs and alcohol

A man has been jailed following the death of Olivia Riley near Chelsea Embankment in May 2022.
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A man has been jailed for causing the death of a woman by dangerous driving in Chelsea.

Laszlo Dancs was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday (July 28) to six years and eight months’ imprisonment for causing the death of Olivia Helen Riley by dangerous driving, drink driving, drug driving and failing to provide a breath sample.

The 28-year-old, of Heathfield Road, Acton, previously pleaded guilty at the same court on May 23.

On May 14 last year, Olivia Riley, who was aged 41 and from Suffolk, was walking her dogs on Cheyne Walk, by Chelsea Embankment, when she was struck by a car being driven by Dancs.

Officers attended with paramedics from the London Ambulance Service, but, despite their efforts, was pronounced dead at the scene. Olivia’s three dogs - two Labradors called Lily and Maia and a golden retriever puppy called Darcy - were also killed.

Olivia Riley

A spokesperson for Olivia Riley’s family said: “On behalf of our family and those loved by Olivia, we are grateful to the team of prosecutors, Met Police Road Death Investigation team and all those who attended the unimaginable scene of Olivia’s death and have supported us so well through the maze of the English justice system, through to today’s sentence of Lazlo Dancs, 440 days after Olivia’s light was extinguished from all our lives.

“No sentence can restore that light or the mental health of all of us who will mourn her loss for the rest of our lives. We could only hope that the sentence passed would be appropriate and relevant to the circumstances of Olivia’s sudden death.

“I find it impossible to reconcile that a person who chooses to drive with a lethal cocktail of illegal drugs and alcohol at 6.15 on a Saturday morning has not intentionally decided to endanger the lives of innocent people and their loved ones.”

Olivia Helen Riley.Olivia Helen Riley.
Olivia Helen Riley.

They continued: “Today’s sentence should reflect Mr Dancs’ abdication of responsibility for the lethal consequences of his actions. This is insignificant compared with the final tragedy of justice, that Mr Dancs should have escaped the current tariff of life imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving because he ended Olivia’s life six weeks before this relevant and appropriate sentence was introduced to law.

“We hope and pray that Mr Dancs will dedicate the rest of his life to personal repentance and preventing others from following his life destroying choices.”

Olivia Riley died after being struck by a vehicle driven by drink and drug driver Laszlo Dancs.Olivia Riley died after being struck by a vehicle driven by drink and drug driver Laszlo Dancs.
Olivia Riley died after being struck by a vehicle driven by drink and drug driver Laszlo Dancs.

Olivia

(The family shared this poem by Olivia’s sister Leonora “that sustains the essence that was Olivia”.)

A light that always shone so brightly, shall not be dimmed.

Darkness yields no control over her tenderness, engulfing her loved ones with boundless elation

A strength that survived cruelty and resentment shall not be weakened.

Her scars turn to shards of blinding light, illuminating the world on her shoulders

A joy that raised spirits in all that met her, will be forever cherished, radiating through cloaks of aversion, attempting to break her impenetrable spirit

A grace that has mesmerised many, shall not be washed away, surviving even the roughest of seas, bubbling into flickers of luminescence on the shores of Suffolk.

A deep, unconditional love that has changed us eternally, shall never see an end, blessing us from the confines of precious memory, Olivia’s radiance unbroken by the setting of the sun.

The Met Police

Detective Sergeant Dale Luke of the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command said: “Olivia Riley’s life was cut short by the reckless actions of Laszlo Dancs. Were it not for his actions she would still be enjoying walks with her beloved dogs today.

“My thoughts are very much with Olivia’s family today as this long legal process comes to a close - it is my heartfelt hope that they may find a measure of closure and are able to remember Olivia in happier times, before this terrible incident took her from them.”

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