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

21 October 2022, 07:22 | Updated: 21 October 2022, 08:34

Harry Dunn's family has got justice
Harry Dunn's family has got justice. Picture: Alamy

By Lindsey Alder

It's been three years since a car driven on the wrong side of the road near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire collided with the motorbike of 19-year-old Harry Dunn.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

That car was being driven by American citizen Anne Sacoolas, who was coming from the airbase, which is run by the US military.

She left the UK 19 days after the crash, assisted by the US government who then asserted diplomatic immunity on her behalf.

But finally, at the Old Bailey, she pleaded guilty to causing the teenager's death by careless driving.

It's been years of campaigning and negotiating across the Atlantic to get to this point. Harry's family even met with President Donald Trump at the White House to try and get her to come back and face the UK court system.

It was a flat out no from that US administration back in 2019, but the tide seemed to start turning in the Dunn family's favour once President Joe Biden was elected.

They all turned out to the Old Bailey to watch the court hearing – Harry's parents, step-parents and twin brother were sat close to the judge whilst more of his loved ones filled the public gallery upstairs in the famous Court One.

Sacoolas admitted causing Harry's death
Sacoolas admitted causing Harry's death. Picture: JUSTICE4HARRY19

All of them were wearing green – his favourite colour and the colour of his motorbike.

Anne Sacoolas admitted death by careless driving but did plead not guilty to the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

This was accepted by the prosecution, who said they'd taken Sacoolas' foreign nationality into account when making the mistake of driving on the right.

Sacoolas will now be sentenced at the Old Bailey sometime in the week beginning 28th November and could be given anything from a community order, to a suspended sentence, to 3 years in prison.

Read more: Harry Dunn’s parents weep in court as they hear US spy’s wife Anne Sacoolas admit killing the motorcyclist by careless driving

She's appeared by video link from the States at the past two hearings but Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb strongly encouraged her to attend the sentencing in person - saying that would add weighty evidence to show remorse for causing Harry's death.

Harry's mother Charlotte and father Tim told LBC they were shocked but pleased to have that show of support from the judge.

Harry Dunn's family chased justice for the teenager
Harry Dunn's family chased justice for the teenager. Picture: Alamy

I have spent a lot of time with Harry's family over the past three years. Charlotte made a promise to her son in the hospital the night he died that she would get him justice.

Their strength, courage and unwillingness to let this go – despite opposition from almost every corner – has been incredible to watch. They've kept his memory alive through a global pandemic, taken every knock-back and told me "we're just going to have to get the gloves back on and go again".

They've struggled to be able to remember Harry in the way that they want to and every time I've seen them, it's clear the waiting and the constant fighting has taken its toll.

But after Anne Sacoolas finally admitted responsibility for their son's death, his parents seem to me like different people.

It's like a physical weight has been lifted. Tim said to me today that the moment he heard "guilty", it was like the light came back on in his eyes.

As for the sentencing itself, they've both told me that they don't care what happens – it's up to the judge.

They've done what they set out to do three years ago – they've got justice for Harry.