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

10 June 2024, 13:23

'It's tough not having him in my life anymore': Harry Dunn's brother pays tribute to twin during inquest into death
'It's tough not having him in my life anymore': Harry Dunn's brother pays tribute to twin during inquest into death. Picture: JUSTICEFORHARRY19 / Niall Dunn

By Christian Oliver

The twin of Harry Dunn, the teenage motorcyclist killed by an American woman in a road crash, has paid tribute to his brother at the inquest into his death.

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Niall Dunn said Harry was an "amazing person" who was "always taking care of me" so he "never had to do anything that would make me uncomfortable".

Coroner Anne Pember heard evidence in Mr Dunn's inquest at Sessions House in Northampton today following Mr Dunn's death on August 27, 2019.

The 19-year-old was killed by Anne Sacoolas when she was driving on the wrong side of the road outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire when she crashed into Harry'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.

She 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.

It comes as Harry's mother said she was "unspeakably hurt" after Sacoolas refused to give live evidence to his inquest.

Presentation narrated by Niall Dunn on his twin brother Harry

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Speaking over a presentation showing family photos of him and Harry which was played in the court, Niall said: "When asked to talk about Harry and who he was - and he was an amazing person but I feel you'll be hearing just how incredible he is from both my parents. So I'd like to tell you about the effect he's had on me in my life.

"Growing up I found it more difficult than he did. Certain situations stressed me out a lot, and I found some things that shouldn't be difficult quite difficult - but Harry knew that. And if anything he knew before I did when something would be too much for me and he would deal with it. And he wouldn't tell me either.

He paid tribute to his brother for helping him with his struggles where he would always be willing to "fix things" to help him.

Niall continued: "Of course, he would annoy me, I would annoy him. I think it would be wrong if we didn't annoy each other. But no one has ever supported me or taken care of me like he did. I always felt like an older brother to him, but he was always taking care of me. Since we were young he would be taking care of me.

"If he hadn't done all that he's done for me over the years, I wouldn't be where I am now and I wouldn't have the confidence I do now to go out and do these things that I never used to be able to do. It was him going and effortlessly doing these things that would stress me out, that sort of showed me that it's not difficult.

"I couldn't have asked for a better brother. But beyond that, just a better person to be forced to know. I was forced to grow up with him, he was my twin, and yet I could not have got more lucky.

"Everyday we feel the effects of him not being there anymore. You smile less, you, in general, just find less joy - often because he was the one bringing it with him. And it's tough, it's really tough not having that support system in my life anymore."

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

It comes after Sacoolas refused to give remote evidence at the inquest, leaving Harry's family "unspeakably hurt".

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

Mr Dunn's inquest heard the offer of remote attendance "has not been taken up" - a decision his mother, Charlotte Charles, describe as "incomprehensible" and "disrespectful".

Sacoolas's evidence will now be read to the court on Tuesday - which 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.

The Dunn family were informed of her refusal to give live evidence on Thursday - four days before the inquest was due to begin.

On Monday, Mrs Charles delivered a pen portrait of her son, in which she addressed Sacoolas's decision not to attend the inquest.

She said: "I wanted to say that learning that Anne Sacoolas will not be attending Harry's inquest this week was bitterly disappointing and, as a mother, is utterly incomprehensible to me.

"She could have chosen to give me and our family this opportunity to finally understand what led to Harry's death that night. But no.

"I am unspeakably hurt that she has chosen to hide instead and it cannot help but feel disrespectful to Harry, the life he had and the future he lost."

Counsel to the inquest, Briony Ballard, said the coroner could not "force or compel an individual to attend".

She said: "I know that she has been offered remote attendance but again, the coroner does not have any jurisdiction outside of Northamptonshire.

"That remote offer has not been taken up.

"We have had a witness statement in which she has responded to issues around training.

"I understand she would be available to answer any written questions."

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

The inquest, which is scheduled to last for four days, continues.

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