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Harry Dunn's mum says it's 'only a matter of time' until there is another fatality

12 March 2021, 00:19 | Updated: 12 March 2021, 19:20

By Lindsey Alder

Harry Dunn's mum has told LBC it is "only a matter of time" until there is another fatality on the roads where her son died unless more is done to protect the public.

Harry was killed after being knocked off his bike near RAF Croughton 18 months ago, and the American driver Anne Sacoolas has admitted she was on the wrong side of the road at the time.

Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity and left the country to return to the US, but Harry's family have continued to fight for her to face the charges.

But another aspect of their campaign has always been to stop further deaths on that country road.

Read more: Harry Dunn's mum will never 'back down' after rejecting suspect's community service offer

A year ago Northamptonshire Police promised to start driver safety training with workers at the base - but have told LBC that “due to the Covid-19 pandemic" it "hasn’t been possible to deliver the full programme of events that had been planned”.

But Harry's mum Charlotte Charles told us she knows people who deliberately avoid the area near the American airbase over fears another person could fall victim to the same fate Harry did.

Harry was killed after being knocked off his bike near RAF Croughton 18 months ago,
Harry was killed after being knocked off his bike near RAF Croughton 18 months ago,. Picture: PA

“I’m not assured that the driver error won’t happen again. It happened many times prior to us losing Harry and it’s happened since," Charlotte told LBC.

"It’s only a matter of time till unfortunately there’s going to be another fatality. I’ve got family and friends who will go nowhere near the base now.

"They will go out of their way, an extra five, 10 minutes… half an hour if they need to, to not go anywhere near it. We shouldn’t have to live our lives like that”.

Read more: Harry Dunn's mum says she can 'still feel his hugs' 18 months on from his death

Superintendent Tom Thompson, who leads the project at RAF Croughton said the word training was "probably misunderstood" as it was never the force's intention to teach people to drive at the base.

He added: "The key bit was to make sure people coming into the UK had a clear understanding of (driving here) and of the local conditions and clearly that was already happening. It was a matter of quality checking that."

Harry's mum Charlotte Charles told us she knows people who deliberately avoid the area near the American airbase
Harry's mum Charlotte Charles told us she knows people who deliberately avoid the area near the American airbase. Picture: LBC

A statement from Northamptonshire Police said “As with much of any form of face-to-face road safety work the Force had planned over the previous year, the pandemic and resulting Covid-19 restrictions have meant some plans have had to change.

"We’ve still worked with the base to provide additional advice to new arrivals, although there have been fewer of these due to the pandemic.

"This work included driver document awareness events, plus spot checks and a day of action last summer. Our officers have also engaged with the USAF training team on road safety issues."

LBC have reached out to the US State Department on this and are awaiting a response.

A Government review into safety around US airbases across England is ongoing.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “We are determined to do everything we can to keep our roads safe. That’s why, following the tragic death of Harry Dunn, we launched a safety review of the roads surrounding the ten bases.

"The review – which is being carried out jointly with the Road Safety Foundation – will make recommendations to improve safety and help prevent future accidents.”