RoadPeace were honoured to attend the Livia Awards this year and hear about all the exemplary police officers who are making a real difference in supporting road crash victims.
George and Giulietta Galli-Atkinson, residents of Rugby, held the 25th Livia Award for Professionalism and Service to Justice in memory of their daughter, Livia, at a ceremony at New Scotland Yard, Westminster on 14 November. Livia was killed in Enfield in 1998 by a driver who mounted the pavement as she walked to ballet class. Impressed by the professional service offered by their investigation team, they decided to establish an award to highlight the work of fatal and serious collision investigators and FLOs, to encourage best practice.
The Livia Award for Professionalism and Service to Justice is made annually to an officer in the Roads and Transport Policing Command judged to have provided the most meritorious service to road death investigation, either in a specific case, or sustained through several investigations and who has provided the family of a road crash victim with outstanding commitment. The runner up receives the Livia Highly Commended Certificate, signed by the Prime Minister and by Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, who is a member of the Livia Award’s external and independent panel of judges.
The award is endorsed by the Prime Minister, the Metropolitan Police Service and has the support of Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, also a member of the award panel.
Attending the ceremony from Warwickshire were Mark Pawsey MP for Rugby and Marcus Jones MP for Nuneaton, the Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe who was asked by George and Giulietta to present an award to a Warwickshire Collision Investigator. Karen Powell was nominated by Warwickshire Police Inspector Michael Huntley and by the Road Safety Policy and Partnerships Officer for PCC Seccombe, Chris Lewis, for her personal dedication and excellence in collision investigation into a hit and run case that involved a fatality and serious injury; the outcome of which was a successful prosecution of the dangerous driver who eventually pleaded guilty to all charges, leading to a conviction for manslaughter and a lifetime driving disqualification, unprecedented in Warwickshire.
The six candidates nominated from the Serious Collision Investigation Units of the Metropolitan Police Service Roads & Transport Policing Command, interviewed by the independent panel were: PC Edward Raymond (Catford), FCI Steven Gilbert (Catford), DC Jenny Burr (Merton), DC Davina Nash (Merton), PC Josh Haase (Chadwell Heath) and DC Liz Carrey (Chadwell Heath).
Presenting the awards, jointly, were the Mets Operations AC Matthew Twist and Lord George Robertson KT GCMG. The message of congratulation from the Prime Minister was presented by Stephen Twigg, Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Commonwealth Association.
The 2023 winner of the Livia Award was DC Davina Nash who was the collision investigator for a serious injury collision in Acton in June, 2021.
The collision resulted in potentially life-changing injuries to a two-and-a-half-year-old girl. She was with her mother and daughter crossing a major road with a green man at a pedestrian crossing. She was on a toy scooter when despite the signal being red for traffic, with stationary cars waiting for the signals to change, a moped rider approached the crossing at speed, overtook a line of stationary cars and collided with the little girl who was part-way across the crossing.
Her injuries were so severe that medical staff thought she would die or would be left with a severe brain injury. DC Nash acted as FLO for the family and carried out a meticulous and thorough investigation resulting in a successful prosecution for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving whilst over the cannabis limit, no driving licence, and no insurance. The judge imposed the maximum sentence possible after a ‘guilty plea’ reduction, 42 months imprisonment. The judge commented that the sentence was nowhere near high enough given the gravity of the little girl’s injuries.
FCI Stephen Gilbert received the Livia Highly Commended Certificate. Having retired recently, Mr Gilbert had been a collision investigator for death and serious injury collisions since 1987, firstly as a police officer and latterly as a civilian investigator. He dealt with over 500 investigations in one way or another.
The nomination for the award stated that Steve had endless compassion, professionalism, and dedication in carrying out his role. He was described as a credit to the profession, an invaluable mentor to less experienced investigators and invaluable to the MPS. The judging panel felt that Steve merited being the runner-up for the Livia Award because of his long service to victims of fatal and serious road collisions and to justice overall. They felt that it was hard to imagine the personal toll of dealing with such a large number of incidents.
The criteria for the Livia Award have three arms – service to justice, professionalism, and service to the families of victims. Steve Gilbert’s long career hits each arm and embodies all that is best in roads policing.
Also nominated for the awards, each receiving a Commander’s Commendation, were Police Constable Edward Raymond, Detective Constable Jenny Burr, Police Constable Josh Haase and Detective Constable Liz Carrey, all of whom demonstrated professionalism, diligence, and tenacity on behalf of road collision victims.
Police Constable Edward Raymond
PC Edward Raymond was nominated for the Livia Award for his outstanding commitment to the family of the victim who was killed when a car smashed into a rickshaw taking her home in South London. The driver, who was unlicensed and twice the drink drive limit, tried to run off but was detained. He was later imprisoned for nine years, increased to 12, after an appeal, when PC Raymond was praised by Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson KC. Since then, PC Raymond has been invited by the bereaved family to join them in raising £10,000 for charity completing the Welsh Three Peaks 24-hour challenge.
Detective Constable Jenny Burr
DC Jenny Burr showed exemplary determination and resilience in bringing to justice a driver in a fatal collision in Hounslow. The driver, victim and two occupants of the car were all from the travelling community and DC Burr encountered major impediments to collecting evidence. The driver was jailed for six years for causing death by dangerous driving and DC Burr was also injured breaking up a fight in court between the families of the victim and the defendant. She showed professionalism and compassion in a highly complex and challenging case leading to a nomination for the Livia Award.
Police Constable Josh Haase
PC Josh Haase was nominated for the Livia Award for his exceptional dedication as FLO to the family of a victim of a fatal head-on collision in Romford who was killed by a speeding, disqualified career criminal driver who fled the scene sparking a long-running police hunt. For 17 months, PC Haase helped the family through their grief and a series of further personal tragedies as well as the complicated judicial process. When the driver was finally jailed for causing death by dangerous driving, the family commended PC Haase’s commitment which they said had been beyond measure.
Detective Constable Liz Carrey
DC Liz Carrey showed extraordinary tenacity and humanity as an investigator and FLO for the family of a victim of a hit and run fatality on the Romford Road. She assembled the evidence and helped counter what was described as underhand tactics employed by the defence during the trial. She also struck up a remarkable rapport with the family as court proceedings dragged on before the driver was finally jailed for causing death by dangerous driving. The family has expressed deep gratitude to DC Carrey echoed by prosecution counsel and her police colleagues in support of her nomination for the Livia Award.
Speaking about the Livia Awards, Mark Pawsey commented:
“I have supported Giulietta and George since being elected as Rugby and Bulkington’s MP and it has been inspirational – but also deeply challenging – to learn about the work of road collision investigators within the police. It is an often-overlooked role, but one which is so vital to the pursuit of justice for those affected by road traffic incidents. The work which Giulietta and George have done to run the Livia Awards for 25 years has done so much to highlight this really valuable role within policing and recognised many police officers who have gone above and beyond for families like theirs.”
AC Twist commented:
“I was honoured to be asked to present the Livia award on behalf of the Metropolitan Police. The dedication and true professionalism of the work undertaken by Officers from the Roads & Transport Policing Command Serious Collision Investigation Unit ensures that families are supported throughout and that investigations are diligently undertaken. The Livia award ceremony is a fantastic way of recognising the incredibly hard work and dedication that is put in by our Officers on a daily basis and is also a stark reminder of the devastating impact on families of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. I am extremely proud of not only DC Nash and all of the hard-working nominees, but also of our wider teams and all that they are able to achieve in such a challenging and demanding area of policing.”
Giulietta and George Galli-Atkinson commented:
Over 25 years it has been our privilege to highlight the very difficult, little understood role and work of road collision investigators and family liaison officers, not just in London but nationwide, the wider scope being motivation, encouragement and ever improving professional standards which is in the public interest. We have never been disappointed by the endeavours of these specialist who show the will to serve and, above all, to do right. They have our gratitude, admiration, and support.
About the Livia Awards:
Livia was born at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield on 30 October 1981. She was growing into a beautiful young woman, thoughtful, studious, hardworking, kind and with a clear understanding of right and wrong. Her hobbies included riding and ballet. She loved Gone with the Wind and a dry sense of humour.
On 12 January 1998, Livia left home at 18.55 to walk to her 19.15 ballet class. As she walked on the pavement leading to her studio, a car mounted it and careered into her having first injured another pedestrian, Mrs Marie Page. Livia died at the scene at 19.40.
On 6 November 1998, the driver was found guilty by unanimous verdict of the charge of causing death by dangerous driving. A minimum custodial sentence was expected. The judge, however, considered the case borderline with careless driving, accepted the defendant’s last-minute decision not to testify, despite his plea of not guilty to any charge. Affronted by our outrage which he labelled ‘clamour and campaign,’ he declared that he saw no benefit in sending the defendant to jail, having been of previous good character, nor would it serve justice. The defendant received a £2,000 fine, 10 points, a 5-year ban.
An appeal against this leniency was immediately lodged with the Attorney General by the family and the CPS. Not considering the sentence unduly lenient, he declined to appeal.
In 2000, the family took the Attorney General to Judicial Review on the grounds of unreasonableness. The first attempt failed. At the second attempt, the High Court found that, for the purpose of the hearings, it had been an unduly lenient sentence and that while the Attorney General had made an error of judgment in denying the appeal, he had not made an error of law.
In 2002, the family turned to the European Court of Human Rights to test articles 2, 3, 13, 14. Livia’s case failed. All avenues in the criminal processes having been exhausted, the family turned to civil redress. The civil case succeeded and Livia’s name is in Tort Law: Galli-Atkinson v Seghal  EWCA Civ 697. A suitable memorial.
Nothing can assuage sudden, violent loss and lenient sentences add to the burden of trauma and should not be served where risk taking dangerousness and negligence have been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. Remorse can be contrived and allowing the system to be worked is not what is expected of just law. Attitudes driven by cynicism and money, that engineer lives into tolerable expendability, are neither civilised nor ethical.
The Livia Award seeks to sustain a moral creed that better serves victims’ families. It was established in gratitude to the Road Traffic Police Officers investigating Livia’s case. Where the court had failed, they fulfilled the expectations of professional service and integrity. Professionalism, service to justice, to victims and their families are the criteria and mandate of the Livia Award.
Updated on: 30 November 2023