Harry Dunn's parents reach 'resolution' with Anne Sacoolas in damages claim against Northamptonshire son's alleged killer

Family's 'courage and determination to see this through has been incredible' but a 'relief' to put suit behind them

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 3:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 9:53 am

Harry Dunn's parents have reached a 'resolution' with Anne Sacoolas in their damages claim against the alleged killer of their son in Northamptonshire, it has been announced today (Tuesday, September 21).

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn were suing the American woman in the United States courts as a 'last resort' she refuses to face the British justice system for the fatal crash in 2019.

While US President Joe Biden said he will 'follow up' on the case when asked about it after his talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the White House.

Harry Dunn

The family's spokesman, Radd Seiger, said: "Harry’s family continue to suffer unimaginable pain and miss him each and every day. Their mental health is at an all time low.

"It has therefore come as some considerable relief to them that a resolution to the civil claim has been now been reached successfully between the parties and they can put this part of the campaign behind them."

Harry, from Charlton, was killed after his motorcycle was involved in a crash with a car being driven on the wrong side of the road on the B4031 outside Croughton on August 27, 2019.

The American driver, Anne Sacoolas, controversially claimed diplomatic immunity as her husband, Jonathan, was working for the US government at RAF Croughton and returned to her homeland.

She has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving but the US State Department has repeatedly refused to extradite her.

Harry's family sued Sacoolas and her husband for damages in the Alexandria District Court in the US state of Virginia, which previously heard the pair's work in intelligence was a factor in them leaving Britain.

Former Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab supported the claim when the Sacoolases tried to object to it going ahead in the US, claiming it would be better held in the UK, where they refuse to go - the request was rejected.

Anne Sacoolas was due to give evidence as part of the 'discovery' process in the family's claim ahead of a trial but was postponed days beforehand.

Mr Seiger continued: "It is never easing mounting a legal battle for justice abroad, let alone in the USA, but the family's courage and determination to see this through has been incredible.

"They have been supported throughout the claim by Dominic Raab and his excellent officials at the FCDO [Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office] and we are very grateful to them for all their help.

"We have been made aware that the US government made no secret of their displeasure at the British government's backing of Harry’s family in bringing the claim."

Mr Seiger said the family will turn their attention to the criminal case, the long-awaited, subsequent inquest into Harry’s death and a parliamentary inquiry into the scandal, which they believe is needed.

"Harry’s family will never be able to move on from his loss, but they are more determined than ever to continue to move forward. This is a pivot point in the campaign, a real milestone," Mr Seiger added.

"But there is much work left to be done before Justice4Harry can be said to be done and we leave an important legacy behind for him that what happened to this family will never happen to another British family again at the hands of the US government and that all stakeholders can learn lessons from this most tragic of deaths and a terrible low in the history of the relations between the US and UK."

President Biden said he has been told the crash between Harry and Anne Sacoolas was 'not an intentional act' by someone new to driving on the left hand side of the road.

"I was under the impression there had been a civil settlement reached, but I don't know that, based on what I've been told it was not an intentional act," he told reporters.

"It was someone who's new [to] driving down the wrong side of the road, quote unquote. But I will follow up on that."

The prime minister added: "I know that the president has been personally trying to move things along, and I'm grateful for that."

Earlier today, Mrs Charles expressed her gratitude to new Foreign Secretary Liz Truss for discussing her son's case with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at the United Nations General Assembly.