‘She’s continuing to run': Harry Dunn’s mum slams 'despicable' US diplomat killer Anne Sacoolas as inquest concludes

13 June 2024, 13:54 | Updated: 13 June 2024, 20:02

‘She’s not sorry and is still on the run’: Harry Dunn’s mum slams his US diplomat killer Anne Sacoolas as inquest rules
‘She’s not sorry and is still on the run’: Harry Dunn’s mum slams his US diplomat killer Anne Sacoolas as inquest rules. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle de Wolfe

The mother of Harry Dunn has slammed the US government employee who went "on the run" following the death of her son, labelling her inquest statement "cold" and containing "absolutely no regard" for the grieving family.

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Anne Sacoolas, 45, claims she "drove like an American" on the wrong side of the road before colliding with the 19-year-old motorcyclist near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 2019.

Thursday marked the conclusion of the inquest, with the coroner openly criticising the US government over the lack of training given to Sacoolas.

She apologised for her "tragic mistake" in one of two written statements read out by the judge as part of the inquest, after she declined to give live evidence at the inquest on Wednesday.

"The coroner invited her to attend and she chose to hide again," said Charlotte Charles, Dunn’s mother, ahead of the verdict.

She added that she was "extremely disappointed" in the "cold" response, labelling Secoolas' comments "totally disrespectful" to Harry's memory.

"It bolsters our opinion that she has absolutely no regard for us at all," she explained, adding that the family has been left "shellshocked" at the details that have emerged throughout the trial.

She added: "I will forever feel guilty and haunted because I wasn't there."

Ms Charles later told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr that she felt Sacoolas' decision not to appear at the inquest showed "cowardice".

"The coroner invited her to attend and she chose to hide again," said Charlotte Charles, Dunn’s mother, ahead of the verdict.
"The coroner invited her to attend and she chose to hide again," said Charlotte Charles, Dunn’s mother, ahead of the verdict. Picture: Alamy

His family have now said they look forward to working with "the next government to establish this public inquiry" after accusing the US government of "obstructing" their son's inquest.

Secoolas had previously pleaded guilty at a 2022 criminal trial at the Old Bailey, where she appeared via video-link and was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

The US state department asserted diplomatic immunity on Sacoolas’s shortly after the crash, with the employee leaving the UK 19 days later.

"I knew it was going to be painful but it was just a barrage of medical report after medical report and the toughest days since we lost Harry," explained Ms Charles.

"The best thing is that Harry was comforted pretty soon after the crash by a voice he recognised," she continued, referencing the police officer who stayed with Harry after the crash and who the teenager used to serve coffee too.

"That brought a lot of comfort to us, as we'd been led to believe he was on his own laying in the ditch face down," she added emotionally.

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Mother of Harry Dunn says his killer not showing up to inquest is 'cowardice'

In a voluntary interview with police two months after the fatal crash in 2019, which was read to the court on Wednesday, Anne Sacoolas insisted she was a “safe driver”.

Sacoolas said in a witness statement that the crash which killed the teenager was something that will live with her “every single day for the rest of my life”.

Sacoolas was advised against attending her sentencing hearing by her employer, which prompted the family to say they were “horrified” that the US government was “actively interfering in our criminal justice system”.

Both representatives of the US embassy and driver Anne Sacoolas were absent from the four-day inquest - prompting spokesman Radd Seiger to say the US government's position is that "lives of UK citizens like Harry ultimately do not matter".

Dunn's mother explained that she previously "ran away" from the "traumatising" medical details surrounding her son's death.

"I heard the term 'they brought the hospital to Harry,' which I've always been eternally grateful for but I hadn't know the extent of the interventions down at the side of the road."

"I'll be eternally grateful to those who were with him... because I will forever feel guilty and haunted because I wasn't there."

The parents and step-parents of Harry Dunn, (left to right) Charlotte Charles (mother), Bruce Charles (stepfather), Tim Dunn (father) and Tracey Dunn (stepmother)
The parents and step-parents of Harry Dunn, (left to right) Charlotte Charles (mother), Bruce Charles (stepfather), Tim Dunn (father) and Tracey Dunn (stepmother). Picture: Alamy

Northamptonshire coroner Anne Pember criticised the US government over a lack of training for diplomatic personnel at RAF Croughton before Mr Dunn's death.

She recorded his death as being as a result of "injuries sustained during a head-on collision" with a car on the wrong side of the road.

"She's had 5 years to try and redeem herself, she was handed that opportunity in her lap and she denied it," continued Harry's mother.

"Her children will start googling her... This week there was an opportunity for her to say to her children 'I made a horrific error, I've now faced that family' and shown them its never too late to do the right thing, that some of the wrong she's done she could have tried to put right..

"And as a mother I find it despicable that she has not taken that opportunity to show her children how to be a good person.

"Five years on she is still continuing to run," she added.

"I knew it was going to be painful but it was just a barrage of medical report after medical report and the toughest days since we lost Harry," explained Ms Charles.
"I knew it was going to be painful but it was just a barrage of medical report after medical report and the toughest days since we lost Harry," explained Ms Charles. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Harry Dunn begged ‘don’t let me die’ after head on crash with US diplomat wife's car, inquest hears

Read More: 'It's tough not having him in my life anymore': Harry Dunn's brother pays tribute to twin during inquest into death

Responding to the statements provided to the court by Sacoolas, the Dunn family’s spokesman Radd Seiger told the PA news agency: “We have heard most of that before.

“Why on earth is Sacoolas not in court to answer the court’s and the family’s questions?”

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb handed her an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

In one of her witness statements, Sacoolas said she “instinctively moved to the right side of the road” and was not aware she was on the wrong side of the road “until after the collision”.

A statement from her lawyers in the US in September 2020 said Sacoolas had been driving on the wrong side of the road for 20 seconds before she hit Mr Dunn outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

She told the inquest she “hysterically flagged down a motorist” after the crash and “begged her to get help”.

The 45-year-old said she had not received any training on driving on UK roads after arriving in the country.

Sacoolas, who gave her employment details to police as an analyst for the US State Department, rejected the coroner’s invitation to give live evidence to the inquest.

Her lawyer Ben Cooper KC previously told the court she had “provided everything she could to help this inquest” and offered to “answer any further questions”.

In one of her two witness statements, which was only prepared for the inquest on Wednesday, Sacoolas said: “Immediately after the accident, I hysterically flagged down a motorist and begged her to get help.

“While she called 999, I called my husband to contact the base for help, because we were so close to the base entrance. The base was the first to respond.”

She continued: “As I turned out of the exit from the Croughton Air Force base, taking a left turn, I instinctively moved to the right side of the road.

“I knew that the proper side of the road to drive was the left side, not the right side as I was accustomed to driving in the United States.

“My action was based on instinct and not recalling in that moment that I should have been driving on the other side.”

Concluding her most recent statement, Sacoolas said: “I deeply regret having caused this accident.

“I made a tragic mistake that I will live with every single day for the rest of my life.

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