Heartbroken parents step up road safety campaign in Rugby

Livia Galli-Atkinson was 16 when she died
Livia Galli-Atkinson was 16 when she died

A Rugby couple whose daughter was killed by a dangerous driver are stepping up their campaign to make our roads safer.

Young Livia Galli-Atkinson was hit by a car that mounted a pavement as she walked to a ballet lesson. She was 16.

And her parents are now doing what they can to make sure others are spared the trauma they have endured.

Livia’s father George said: “It’s about raising awareness of road safety and preventing other families from experiencing the heartbreak of losing a child.”

The crash happened in 1998 when the family lived in Enfield, north London. George had gone to collect Livia after the class and saw a crashed car, an ambulance parked nearby and two paramedics tending to a body on the ground.

When he couldn’t find Livia at the school, he called his wife who came to meet him.

George spoke to an officer at the scene and explained he was looking for his daughter.

Recounting the experience this week, George said: “He asked me for my daughter’s name. I told him and was promptly told my daughter had been killed.

“I heard the horrific screams of my wife from up the hill as she was told that Livia was dead.”

The driver was found guilty of death by dangerous driving and received a fine, a five-year driving ban and ten points on his licence.

Unhappy at the sentence, the family appealed several times and took the Attorney General to Judicial Review on the grounds of unreasonableness. The High Court ruled the sentence was unduly lenient and that the Attorney General had made an error of judgement, but not an error in law.

The couple took the matter to the European Court of Human Rights but the case failed.

The family then decided to set up the Livia Award for Professionalism and Service to Justice. It has been presented annually since 1999 and is given to Met Traffic Police officers in recognition of the quality of their investigation work and family liaising.

The winner receives a letter from the Prime Minister, a trophy and a Livia pin badge.

And now, George and his wife Giulietta Galli-Atkinson, who live in Crick Road, Hillmorton, have enlisted the support of Rugby MP Mark Pawsey and are keen to educate youngsters in the town about the dangers of driving.

George said: “The Safe Drive Stay Alive initiative helps young drivers make safe and wise choices. It involves the emergency services, survivors of road crashes and bereaved families, and we would like to bring the programme to schools in Rugby.”

Mr Pawsey has been asked to help judge the awards this year.

He said: “It’s an honour to be asked to join the panel and George and Giulietta have been incredibly successful in their campaign.

“I really empathise with them - my son’s close friend died in a car crash and it was incredibly sad.

“Their campaign highlights the dangers of driving and the consequences of poor decisions. It has been extremely successful so far and hopefully they can continue to expand it.”