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Harry Dunn's mum finally has 'closure' as her son's killer Anne Sacoolas is sentenced for killing teen in crash

8 December 2022, 16:12 | Updated: 10 June 2024, 12:48

Anne Sacoolas has been spared jail
Anne Sacoolas has been spared jail. Picture: Justice4Harry/LBC

By Kit Heren

Harry Dunn's mum has said she has finally got "closure" after her son's killer, Anne Sacoolas, was handed "justice" for killing him in a crash.

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Anne Sacoolas killed Mr Dunn in a road crash outside the US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019.

She was sentenced in her absence today to eight months in prison suspended for 12 months. She was also banned from driving for twelve months.

Speaking on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, Mr Dunn's mother, Charlotte Charles, said: "My goal was justice for my boy. That’s what was achieved.

"I needed her to go through the UK justice system just like you or I would have done."

She added: "Until something like this happens to you, you don’t realist how important justice is. It’s a form of closure.

"Without the fight of our lives that we’ve had we wouldn't be here, and we wouldn’t have this piece of closure that we’ve got.

"Everything we’ve been through and we continue to go through is hell on earth."

Charlotte Charles on LBC.
Charlotte Charles on LBC. Picture: LBC

She recalled being invited to the White House by Donald Trump - "a complete fiasco" that she soon realised had been staged when he immediately dropped the bombshell that Sacoolas was in the room next door.

"That became extremely evident when we said no [to meeting]," Ms Charles said.

"We promptly got shown out of the back door instead of the south lawn where all of the media were that he had clearly set up."

Remembering her son, she went on to say he was "larger than life. Six foot tall and just as wide".

"He was a very very well built lad, with the most beautiful bear hugs you can imagine," she said.

"He loved his biking. He definitely knew right from wrong and always stood up for those who were in need of help."

Anne Sacoolas avoids jail over Harry Dunn death crash

The court heard on Thursday how Mr Dunn pleaded "don't let me die" to the person who found him lying seriously injured in the road, after he was hurled into the air by Ms Sacoolas' car.

He suffered "very severe injuries" and died shortly after being taken to hospital, the judge said on Thursday.

The court also heard for the first time of an intervention by US officials, who said the administration "does not in any way support Mrs Sacoolas' appearance at this hearing," as "her return could place significant US interests at risk."

Mr Dunn's mum told the court that she had told her son that she would "get him justice".

Harry Dunn
Harry Dunn. Picture: Justice4Harry

Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity following the collision and left the UK 19 days after the accident, causing a diplomatic row that lasted years.

She eventually pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving in October, less severe than the original charge of causing death by dangerous driving - but did not appear in court in person.

Read more: Harry Dunn’s family ‘horrified’ as United States government advise killer Anne Sacoolas not to attend UK sentencing

Sacoolas, 45, appeared by videolink again for her sentencing at the Old Bailey after advice by her employer, the US government, not to travel to the UK.

Justice Cheema Grubb at the sentencing
Justice Cheema Grubb at the sentencing. Picture: Sky News

Her charge carried a starting sentence of 15 months in prison and a mandatory 12-month driving ban, the prosecution said.

Sacoolas' defence lawyer said that there were mitigating factors, including pleading guilty and turning herself in to police, and suggested mandatory unpaid work or a deferred sentence.

Presiding, Justice Cheema-Grubb dismissed both as unenforceable.

She told Sacoolas: "At no point during these proceedings was it suggested that you were not free to travel.

"There could be little reason where a young man had met his death for you not to be required to attend for sentence."

Harry Dunn
Harry Dunn. Picture: PA images

It marks the end of a long, dragged-out legal process following the killing of Mr Dunn more than three years ago.

The Dunn family have been outspoken about Harry's death, campaigning for US citizen Sacoolas to face British justice.

After it emerged that she would not attend her sentencing in the UK, Radd Seiger, the Dunn family' spokesman, said they were "horrified to learn that the United States government is now actively interfering in our criminal justice system".

He added: "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."

Anne Sacoolas fled to the US after the crash
Anne Sacoolas fled to the US after the crash . Picture: Social media

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson KC told the court on Thursday how Mr Dunn was fatally injured in a collision between his motorbike and a Volvo driven by Sacoolas as she drove her children home from a barbecue at the RAF Croughton air base.

Read more: 'Harry Dunn's family has finally got justice - they kept going despite opposition coming from almost everywhere'

As she left the airbase, Ms Sacoolas turned left onto the wrong side of the road and drove for about 350 metres - between 23 and 26 seconds.

Sacoolas and Mr Dunn were travelling towards each other on the same road, and there was an "explosion" as they collided.

Harry Dunn's family outside court
Harry Dunn's family outside court. Picture: Alamy

The 19-year-old was thrown over the top of the car as they collided, although speed was not a factor in his death, Mr Atkinson said.

Mr Dunn begged the first witness on the scene: "Don't let me die."

Spokesperson for Harry Dunn's family speaks to LBC

Sacoolas, who was not speeding and had not drunk alcohol or taken drugs, told the same woman: "It's all my fault.

"I was on the wrong side of the road. I have only been here a couple of weeks."

When giving a voluntary police interview, she said to officers that she told the stricken Mr Dunn that "I did not want to move him because I was afraid that I would cause him more harm than good," Mr Atkinson said.

Mr Dunn's mother Charles told the court on Thursday: "I don't know how I am ever going to get over it. It is almost impossible to describe. I struggle to sleep. I have been shaken to the point of breaking.

"I made a promise to Harry in the hospital that we would get him justice - and a mother never breaks a promise to her son. I just want to wrap my arms around him."

Harry Dunn 'had his whole life ahead of him', his mother told the court
Harry Dunn 'had his whole life ahead of him', his mother told the court. Picture: Alamy

Ms Charles described the effect on Harry's twin brother, her son Niall: "He’s not the proud young man he was in 2019. He is a shell of himself."

Sacoolas said that she wanted "to extend my sincere condolences to Harry Dunn’s family and friends" after her "tragic mistake".

In a statement read out by her lawyer, she said: “I am deeply sorry for the pain that I have caused and it is for that reason that I have been committed to a resolution of this case. I know there is nothing I can say to change what has happened.

"I cannot imagine the loss and I too deeply grieve for Harry and his family."

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