Harry Dunn's parents refuse to meet Anne Sacoolas during White House visit

15 October 2019, 23:48

President Donald Trump (left) and Harry Dunn
President Donald Trump (left) and Harry Dunn. Picture: PA/Justice4Harry

By Megan White

Harry Dunn’s parents refused to meet the woman involved in their son's fatal crash during their visit to the White House to meet Donald Trump.

The 19-year-old was killed when his motorbike was involved in a head-on collision outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August.

Anne Sacoolas, the motorist allegedly responsible for the crash, was given diplomatic immunity and allowed to return to the US after the crash.

Harry’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, said the "bombshell was dropped" when President Trump told them Ms Sacoolas was in the room next door.

But speaking to reporters outside after the meeting, Ms Charles said: "We made it very clear, as we've said all along...we would still love to meet with her but it has to be on our terms and on UK soil.

"She needs to come back and face the justice system."

After the meeting, they said Mr Trump was warm and sympathetic during the meeting but said he told them Mrs Sacoolas would not return to the UK.

Harry Dunn's mother Charlotte Charles (left)
Harry Dunn's mother Charlotte Charles (left). Picture: PA

Mr Dunn added: "We weren't ready to meet her, it would have been too rushed.

"It's not what we wanted - we wanted a meeting with her in the UK."

When asked if she felt the meeting was trying to sweep Harry's death under the carpet, Ms Charles said: "Initially yes I did think they were trying to do that - certainly by having Mrs Sacoolas there.

"I think maybe they were thinking that would be enough for us.

"We're seven weeks on and it's just not enough."

In a post on the Justice 4 Harry GoFundMe page, Ms Charles and Mr Dunn said ahead of the meeting: "We are grateful for the invitation, which we hope represents a positive development in our fight for justice.

"Our priority, as any parent will understand, is justice for our child. We believe this can only be achieved if Anne Sacoolas returns to England and engages properly with the justice system, where she will be treated fairly in a proper investigation of what happened to our son on that day - an investigation that cannot happen without her co-operation.

"Friends tell each other the truth. If Britain and America are friends then we believe there should be no possibility of a citizen of one country hiding from justice in another while falsely claiming a privilege such as diplomatic immunity."

The family, who met Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb in the UK last week, have also demanded an investigation over the Foreign Office's (FCO) advice to Northamptonshire Police that Ms Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity.

Harry was 19 when he was killed in the accident near RAF Croughton
Harry was 19 when he was killed in the accident near RAF Croughton. Picture: Justice4Harry

Speaking in New York, family spokesman Radd Seiger said: "We want to conduct an investigation into the FCO's decision to advise Northamptonshire Police that this lady had the benefit of diplomatic immunity.

"What we don't know is whether somebody cocked up or whether they were put under pressure by the Americans to concede."

On Saturday, before the family left for the US, they received a letter from Mr Raab, saying that Mrs Sacoolas, 42, no longer had immunity.

They met Mr Raab last week, but Mr Seiger said the Foreign Secretary was “stiff, cold, unpleasant and rude.”

Mrs Sacoolas has said she is "terribly sorry" about the incident and that she had "no time to react" when she saw Mr Dunn's motorbike.

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