Uninsured driver who killed 31-year-old woman in south London pedicab crash jailed

Victim: Sophie Strickland (Met Police )
Victim: Sophie Strickland (Met Police )

An uninsured driver who hit a pedicab in south London, causing the death of its 31-year-old passenger, has been jailed for nine years.

Luis Balcazar-Soto, 24, collided with a pedicab in New Kent Road, Elephant and Castle, early on July 10, killing 31-year-old Sophie Strickland.

Balcazar-Soto, of Law Street, Bermondsey, was sentenced Tuesday to nine years imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving and three years’ imprisonment for causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The sentences are to run concurrently.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the 24-year-old had been driving under the influence of alcohol, did not have insurance, and had a record of previous driving offences.

The presiding judge, Judge Taylor said in sentencing: “You are 24-years-old, you don’t have a driving licence and you have an appalling record for driving offences in the past.

“I have heard very moving victim impact statements from Sophie’s family who expressed their intense pain and deep loss.

“She was 31 years old - a life you have now denied her from having. Your actions have had a devastating effect.

“This was a prolonged course of bad driving with disregard of danger to others and with experience of being before the courts – on this occasion you continued, with consequences.”

Jailed: Luis Balcazar-Soto (Met Police)
Jailed: Luis Balcazar-Soto (Met Police)

The court heard how paramedics battled to save the life of Ms Strickland, who was from Wales. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Janine Andrews said: “This has been a harrowing ordeal for Sophie’s family and loved ones. My thoughts are very much with them.

“A driving licence and use of our highways is a responsibility and a privilege – those who don’t think that law applies to them and those who care little for the safety of others have no business driving any vehicle.

“It is right that Soto has received a significant sentence for the loss his reckless behaviour has inflicted on Sophie’s family – my thoughts are with them.”

Balcazar-Soto was also sentenced to nine months imprisonment for breach of a restraining order and breach of a suspended sentence. This will run consecutively to the driving offences.

A number of matters including driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a licence, driving without insurance and speeding will lie on file.