Man admits killing author's stepdaughter and three dogs

Pizza restaurant worker admits killing best-selling author Lucinda Riley’s stepdaughter and her three dogs after crashing into them in his Audi TT while he was high on drink and drugs

  • Laszlo Dancs allegedly drove at speeds of more than three times the 20mph limit

A pizza restaurant worker high on drink and drugs killed a woman and her three golden retrievers after smashing into them in his Audi TT as they walked in Chelsea, a court heard.

Laszlo Dancs, 28, today pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving of 41-year-old Olivia Riley, the stepdaughter of famed author Lucinda Riley who wrote the Seven Sisters series. 

Ms Riley died along with her two golden Labradors, one of them called Lily, and golden retriever Darcy, on May 14 last year when intoxicated Dancs drove his Audi TT into her.

He allegedly drove at speeds of more than three times the 20mph limit before losing control of the car.

Officers and paramedics were called to Cheyne Walk in west London at 6.21am but Ms Riley, from Suffolk, was found dead at the scene.

Olivia Riley (pictured with dogs) died at the scene on May 14 after being struck by an Audi TT

Laszlo Dancs has pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at the Old Bailey (pictured the scene of the crash) 

Dancs, a team leader at a well-known north London pizza restaurant, further pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated with a controlled prescription drug over the prescribed limit, and driving while over the alcohol limit. 

He entered a not guilty plea for refusing a breathalyser test at the Old Bailey. 

Dancs, who suffered minor injuries, had 128mg of benzoylecgonine in his system and 137 milligrams of alcohol in a sample of blood, above the legal limit of 80 milligrams.

After her death Ms Riley’s uncle Mark Riley paid tribute to a ‘beautiful, fun-loving’ woman who ‘just lit up the room for everybody’.

He said she had been working as a literary assistant for her stepmother until she died last year from cancer.

Ms Riley (pictured) worked for many years with her stepmother, who started out as an actress in the 1980s and appeared in the comedy Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

Ms Riley was the stepdaughter of best-selling author Lucinda Riley (pictured), who died from cancer at the age of 56 in June 2021

Mr Riley said: ‘Olivia was one in a million and nobody can come to terms with this tragedy, this loss. She saw the best in everyone.’

Judge Philip Katz KC bailed Dancs, from Acton, west London, ahead of sentence on July 28.

He said: ‘You should expect a custodial sentence. I do not want you going home today thinking that just because I granted you bail you won’t.’

He ordered a pre-sentence report and banned Dancs from driving with immediate effect. 

Defending Dancs, Jeremy Dein KC said Dancs has given up his flat as he awaits to hear the result of the prosecution, and is currently living with a friend at an unnamed address. 

Cheyne Walk is a mansion-lined road that stretches along the Thames embankment at Chelsea and has long drawn famous residents such as rock star Sir Mick Jagger. 

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