Harry Dunn's family 'shocked and upset' after learning their son's US diplomat killer will not attend his inquest

10 June 2024, 10:00 | Updated: 10 June 2024, 12:48

Harry Dunn family's family are 'shocked and upset' that their families US killer will not attend his inquest
Harry Dunn family's family are 'shocked and upset' that their families US killer will not attend his inquest. Picture: alamy

By StephenRigley

The family of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn are "shocked and upset" after finding out just days before his inquest that their son's killer would not be giving live evidence.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Northamptonshire coroner Anne Pember issued a request to US government employee Anne Sacoolas last year in which she invited her to attend remotely on Monday.

The proposed witness list for the inquest, seen by the PA news agency, now shows Sacoolas will have her evidence read to the court.

Bruce Charles, stepfather of Harry Dunn, left, Charlotte Charles, mother, and Tim Dunn, second right, the father and Tracey Dunn, stepmother, outside the Old Bailey, after Sacoolas, 45, given eight months suspended sentence
Bruce Charles, stepfather of Harry Dunn, left, Charlotte Charles, mother, and Tim Dunn, second right, the father and Tracey Dunn, stepmother, outside the Old Bailey, after Sacoolas, 45, given eight months suspended sentence. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Harry Dunn's killer Anne Sacoolas given 'imperfect' justice, says human rights lawyer

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

The Dunn family's spokesman Radd Seiger said the 19-year-old's parents were informed about the proposed plan on Thursday, describing the situation as "yet another kick to the stomach".

Sacoolas's lawyer, Ben Cooper KC, told a pre-inquest review hearing in November that the US citizen was "keen to assist the inquest".

According to the proposed witness list, Sacoolas's evidence is set to include a "significant statement" from her, sections of her police interview in October 2019 and her witness statement penned in December last year.

Sacoolas was driving a Volvo on the wrong side of the road outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 2019 before she crashed into the teenager's bike.

The US State Department asserted diplomatic immunity on behalf of Sacoolas and she was able to leave the UK 19 days after the fatal collision.

The 45-year-old appeared before a High Court judge at the Old Bailey via video-link in December 2022, where she pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

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".

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

File photo dated 29/09/22 of court artist drawing by Elizabeth Cook of US citizen Anne Sacoolas, 45, (right in TV screen), making an appearance at Westminster Magistrates' Court via video-link from the United States.
File photo dated 29/09/22 of court artist drawing by Elizabeth Cook of US citizen Anne Sacoolas, 45, (right in TV screen), making an appearance at Westminster Magistrates' Court via video-link from the United States. Picture: Alamy

The Dunn family took their four-year campaign for justice to the US after the teenager's death, which even led to a meeting with then-president Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington DC.

Reacting to the current plans for Sacoolas's evidence, Mr Seiger told PA: "The parents are shocked and upset.

"They have understood since last November from her own lawyer that she would be giving live evidence which would have helped the family better understand what happened during after the crash that killed Harry.

"This news comes totally out of the blue and they are still trying to process it and what effect it will have on their rights at the inquest but it appears to be yet another kick to the stomach of these totally innocent good people who have done nothing wrong and do not deserve this.

"We do not know why this decision was made or who made it but very much hope that there is a last minute change of heart on Mrs Sacoolas' part and for once that she does the right thing.

"It is the very least she can do."

Questioned on what the Dunn family's hopes were for the inquest, Mr Seiger said: "The parents are hoping to learn what happened to Harry that night and what were the circumstances that led to Harry's death - including what, if anything, was done to address road safety outside US bases over the decades since the Americans based themselves in the UK.

"We know many were killed or seriously injured before Harry and want to know what risk assessments were undertaken to address the problem.

"We also know that the ambulance was late to Harry that night in August 2019 and the parents want to work with the coroner and the NHS to see what can be done about the crisis that we all potentially face in not getting an ambulance when we most need it.

"We have nothing but praise for the medical team themselves that fought so bravely to save Harry's life."

The inquest, which is scheduled to begin on Monday, is due to last for four days.has context menu

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Labour is said to be drafting options for wealth taxes

Labour 'draws up plans for wealth taxes' in bid to 'unlock' funds for public services

Nigel Farage said that the West had provoked Putin into invading Ukraine

'We gave Putin an excuse': Nigel Farage says the West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine

Just Stop Oil plans major disruption to summer holidays with private jet stunt just the start

Two charged after Just Stop Oil protesters sprayed private jets with orange paint at Stansted Airport

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Tories raise less than £300k in second week of election campaign, as over three-quarters of all donations go to Labour

File photo of passengers boarding an Easyjet plane

Chaos as Easyjet kicks 26 men off flight headed from the UK to Portugal for 'disruptive behaviour'

Bardia Shojeifard

'Outwardly normal' teen killer with 'worrying interest in knives' posed with huge blade before murdering Alfie Lewis, 15

Police were called to a property at Shorncliffe Road shortly after 3pm on Sunday

Pictured: Baby girl mauled to death in Coventry dog attack at family home

Public schoolboy guilty of attempted murder after vicious clawhammer attack on sleeping staff and students ahead of 'zombie apocalypse'

Public schoolboy obsessed by 'zombie apocalypse' guilty of claw hammer attack on sleeping staff and students

PC Idominik Efeotor raised the issue at the annual State of London debate

'The people who investigate the officers are the problem’: Black Met officer hits out at disproportionate treatment in disciplinary process

Salisbury Novichok victim Dawn Sturgess

Former spy and daughter may give evidence at Salisbury poisonings inquiry

Rishi Sunak has urged voters not to let Labour 'waltz into office'

'Don't let Labour waltz into office', Sunak tells voters as Brits may not 'ever' be able to get them out of power

Exclusive
Starmer says eco mob 'needs to feel the full force of the law' as he slams 'pathetic' Just Stop Oil

Starmer says 'pathetic' eco mob 'needs to feel the full force of the law' as two charged for private jet stunt

The M6

Drivers face misery as major motorway closed for three days next week, sending cars on 90 minute diversion

Kings College Hospital NHS Trust is one of two London Hospitals affected by the hackers

Russian hackers publish NHS patients' details and blood test results online after London hospital cyber attack

Bardia Shojaeifard killed Alfie Lewis

'Outwardly normal' boy, 15, who murdered teenager Alfie Lewis named for first time as judge lifts anonymity

Helicopters, sniffer dogs and 4x4s have been deployed in the search for Jay Slater.

Helicopters and sniffer dogs deployed as Spanish authorities focus on new terrain in search for missing Jay Slater