Grandmother, 87, chased away robber with late husband’s military sword after violent attack at Acton home


n 87-year-old grandmother chased a violent thief from her home with her late husband’s military sword after being subjected to a brutal robbery, a court heard.  

Anastasia Lukianchikova was struck over the head and punched repeatedly by intruder Ashley Riley, who pinned her to the bed as he stole cash, jewellery, and family heirlooms.  

The widow fought back during the 13-minute attack with a lamp, and despite having suffered injuries including a fractured spine she was able to chase Riley out of her home. 

“There’s no doubt Mrs Lukianchikova was not going to give in easily”, Judge Sarah Paneth told Isleworth crown court.

“Far from cowering in her room, Mrs Lukianchikova – with immense courage – followed you down the stairs, having armed herself with her husband’s military sword.  

“By the time she got there, you were making your way out through the front door.”

Riley – a drug addict with a series of robbery convictions – was sentenced on Monday to 13 years in prison, as the judge branded him “dangerous”. 

“I have little doubt part of the motivation for this brutal attack was to stop her from shouting for the police”, she said.

Riley, 28, selected Mrs Lukianchikova’s terraced house, with its net curtains and neat window boxes of flowers, as his target as it was likely to be the home of an elderly person.  

He used a cobblestone to break the front window and entered the pensioner’s home at around 3am on January 31 last year.

Mrs Lukianchikova – described by her grandson as “tough, stoic, and fit” – got out of bed to investigate the noise, hearing the creak of floorboards before being confronted by Riley at her bedroom door.  

“One could only imagine what terror must have gone through this lady’s mind”, said prosecutor James O’Connell. “She recalls the defendant shouting out and striking her on the head, before dragging her and throwing her on to the bed face down.

“He pulled her nightshirt right over her head, leaving her naked and covering her mouth, causing her to fear she would be the victim of rape. She put up what fight she could, sliding down on to the floor from the bed to avoid suffocation.”

Mrs Lukianchikova “picked up a lamp to try to fight back” as Riley went for her jewellery box, but he managed to disarm her and held her down on the bed again, punching her repeatedly and also putting a pillow over her face.  

Riley stole “irreplaceable” jewellery valued at £50,000, including gold rings and bracelets from pre-war Russia as well as earrings given to Mrs Lukianchikova as a wedding gift by her father, the court heard.  

“I was in pain and total shock, and was actually very concerned for my life”, Mrs Lukianchikova told the court. “I thought I was going to die.  

“He began to shout ‘money, money’ and I screamed for help, but this angered him more and he picked up one of the pillows and began to suffocate me in bed.”

She added: “I would like the person who did this to me to go to prison for a very long time, as I don’t want him to do it to anyone else.”

Riley, a former cleaner for Waltham Forest council, was caught on camera fleeing to a waiting taxi after the robbery, and was arrested 11 days later when he attended a scheduled probation appointment from a previous prison sentence.  

At the time he was carrying a CS gas canister, which he claimed was for protection from gang members.  

Riley apologised to Mrs Lukianchikova at court, insisting he was high on drugs and cannot remember the attack or what happened to her valuables.  

“I am utterly and truly sorry for this crime”, he wrote in an apology letter, saying he feels “sick to the stomach” every time he thinks of what he did.  

Riley, a father of two of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a weapon. He will serve at least two-thirds of his prison term, and be on licence for an extra four years.  

DC Toby Prassant said: “I’m pleased Ashley Riley is off the street for a lengthy period of time, firstly for the elderly victim who obviously experienced an abhorrent act of violence during the robbery and secondly to alleviate any future risk to the wider public.”

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