THE driver who killed Olive Riley, stepdaughter of Northern Ireland novelist Lucinda Riley in a collision in London, has been jailed for six years and eight months.
Olivia Riley, 41, was walking her three dogs in Chelsea, west London, when she was hit by an Audi TT as she stood on a traffic island. The dogs were also killed.
At the Old Bailey Laszlo Dancs pleaded guilty to drink driving and drug driving.
A statement from the Metropolitan Police said: “Laszlo Dancs, 28, appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday, 28 July where he was sentenced 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. He was also disqualified from driving for five years.
“On 14 May 2022, Olivia Riley, who was aged 41 and from Suffolk, was walking her dogs on Cheyne Walk, SW3 when she was struck by a car being driven by Laszlo Dancs.
“Officers attended with paramedics from the London Ambulance Service, but sadly, despite their efforts, Olivia was pronounced dead at the scene.”
The Met’s statement continued: “Olivia’s three dogs — two Labradors called Lily and Maia and a Golden Retriever puppy called Darcy — were also killed in the collision.”
Dancs, then aged 26, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and was taken into police custody. He was bailed to appear at the Old Bailey this month
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.”
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. . . 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.
“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.
“Our family would like to share this beautiful poem penned by her sister Leonora Riley, that sustains the essence that was Olivia.”
Lucinda Riley, Olivia’s stepmother, was a writer of popular historical fiction. She was formerly an actor and ballet dancer. The Lisburn-born woman died in 2022
Olivia Riley was a personal assistant and publishing executive for Lucinda Riley Ltd