Harry Dunn's family has rejected his suspect's offer to carry out community service instead of facing UK prosecution

By Iain Leggat
Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 1:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 1:10 pm
Harry Dunn's family has rejected his suspect's offer to carry out community service instead of facing UK prosecution (Photo: Shutterstock)
Harry Dunn's family has rejected his suspect's offer to carry out community service instead of facing UK prosecution (Photo: Shutterstock)

The suspect in the death of motorcyclist Harry Dunn s proposition to complete community service in the United States has been rejected by the victim’s family.

The acting lawyer for Anne Sacoolas has said her client is willing to undertake community service, as well making a financial contribution in Dunn’s memory, and meet his parents to help give them some peace.

In a BBC interview, the lawyer revealed that Sacoolas was not willing to return to the UK where she is facing charges of death by dangerous driving.

‘She has to go through the UK justice system’

Amy Jeffress, Sacoolas’s lawyer said that her client “never denied that this was her fault”, adding: “We understand that community service is a typical sentence for offences like this. In the US these cases are only prosecuted if they rise to the level of reckless driving with a degree of intent, such as drunk driving.

“We have offered ever since over a year ago that she would be willing to serve that kind of a sentence and to make a contribution in Harry’s memory, to take other steps to try to bring some peace to the family.”

In January 2020 the US rejected a Crown Prosecution Service attempt to secure Sacoolas’s extradition back to the UK to face charges. The request was also supported by the Foriegn Secretary, Dominic Raab.

Charlotte Charles, Harry’s mother, responding to Sacoolas’s offer, said: “My first impression is I made a promise to Harry that justice would be done. There are no circumstances at all that will allow me to break that promise.

“She needs to come back if she wants to resolve this as she says she does. She needs to face that UK justice. She may well want to do community service but she has to go through the UK justice system, one of the best in the world.”

Radd Seiger, the family’s lawyer, said: “We should not be trying this case on the BBC. She has been invited to the Crown Prosecution Service to take this case forward. We do not get the chance to go to court and ask: ‘Let me off.’”

What happened to Harry Dunn?

Nineteen year old Harry Dunn died following a collision involving Anne Sacoolas on 27 August 2020.

Sacoolas is believed to have been driving on the wrong side of the road when she hit the teenager on his motorbike outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

The location is home to a US military base, where Sacoolas’s husband is a US intelligence official.

Sacoolas cooperated with the police at the scene following the incident and was breathalysed. However, this was not treated as an interview under caution. The decision was made not to arrest her that evening.

Chief constable of Northamptonshire police, Nick Adderley, later said that was the right decision.

After being interviewed again by the police, Sacoolas informed them that she has diplomatic immunity, and the US embassy notified the Foriegn and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that a member of staff at RAF Croughton has been involved.

Following requests to have her immunity waived, the FCO had their requests denied by the US Embassy. On 15 September, Sacoolas departed the UK for the US.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson both expressed disappointment following the departure, and Mr Johnson personally appealed to then President Donald Trump on 9 October.

The parents of Harry Dunn visited the White House on 15 October, following an invitation from Mr Trump. During the meeting they were informed that Sacoolas was waiting for them in an adjoining room. The parents refused to comply with the meeting.

A review was launched by Mr Raab into an immunity arrangement for US personnel and their families at RAF Croughton on 21 October, and on 28 November the Dunn family launched legal action against the Foreign Office and Mr Rabb.

In February 2021, a judge ruled that the Dunn family will be allowed to pursue a civil claim in the US against Anne Sacoolas, including the ability to sue her for damages.