Harry Dunn’s family ‘horrified’ Anne Sacoolas will NOT be in court for sentencing over causing Northamptonshire teen’s death
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Harry Dunn’s parents accused the US government of “actively interfering in our criminal justice system” after being told Anne Sacoolas will NOT be in court for sentencing on Thursday (December 6) after admitting causing the Northamptonshire teen’s death.
Harry’s dad Tim and mum Charlotte Charles campaigned for justice for their son after he died in a collision with a Volvo XC90 car driven by the American near a US military and intelligence base at RAF Croughton in August 2019 and saw the 45-year-old finally plead guilty to causing death by careless driving in October this year.
But Radd Seiger, a spokesman for the family, revealed the US government has told Ms Sacoolas she can appear via videolink at the Old Bailey on Thursday, defying a judge who said she should appear in person.
Mr Seiger said: “Harry's family are victims of a serious crime and they have been kept in the dark completely about what is to come at Thursday's hearing since Mrs Sacoolas' guilty plea on October 20.
“We are horrified to learn that the United States government is now actively interfering in our criminal justice system. Their ongoing cruel treatment of Harry's parents is nothing short of inhumane and it continues to take a heavy toll on their mental health.”
He said that Harry’s parents and his twin brother Niall would accept the change if there was a “genuine reason” she could not attend. But he added: “On the face of it, it appears that this is nothing short of a cowardly act on the part of an oppressor”.
Mr Seiger has asked for an urgent meeting with foreign secretary James Cleverly to understand how the government intended to respond.
Harry was pronounced dead at the John Radcliffe Hospital’s major trauma centre in Oxford but Ms Sacoolas, the wife of an American diplomat, left the country a 19 days following the fatal collision with 19-year-old Harry’s motorbike and was granted diplomatic immunity due to her husband’s status as a CIA official before she could be charged with causing death by dangerous driving by Northamptonshire Police.
That declaration sparked outrage and led to the Dunn’s family seeking justice, including a visit to then president Donald Trump in 2019.
They fought a three-year battle to have her returned to the UK, leading to October’s court appearance via videolink from her lawyer's offices in Washington DC when Judge Mrs Justice Bobbie Cheema-Grubb told Sacoolas to attend sentencing in person, adding: “the personal attendance and voluntary surrender to the court of Mrs Sacoolas would provide weighty evidence indeed of genuine remorse.”
Sacoolas denied causing death by dangerous driving but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving, which carries a five-year maximum sentence.
As she left the Old Bailey, Harry’s mum Charlotte said the promise she had made to her son to seek justice was now achieved as she left the Old Bailey. She added: “That promise was made the night he was killed. It’s done. I’m done. I’m just going to stand aside now and let the courts do their thing. It’s been a long three years.”