Everything you need to know about Harry Dunn’s death and his family’s three-year battle to have Anne Sacoolas brought to justice

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US spy’s suspended sentenced over car crash which killed Northamptonshire teen in 2019

Harry Dunn’s family finally ended a brave three-year battle for justice for their dead son when Anne Sacoolas was given an eight-month suspended jail sentence at the Old Bailey on Thursday (December 8).

Harry, 19, died after his motorcycle was in collision with a car driven by the American near a US military intelligence base at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. Just a few weeks after the crash, the teenager’s dad Tim Dunn spoke to this newspaper, saying: “For the first few days after the accident, we were confident that it would almost be straightforward.

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“The police told us she said she wouldn't leave the country, that she admitted it was her fault, and the CCTV showed she was on the wrong side of the road. We thought it would be quite quick to prove it.” Instead, it took 24 hours short of 1,200 days for Sacoolas to be sentenced after finally admitting causing Harry’s death by dangerous driving… and even then, she appeared on a video screen at the Old Bailey, defying a judge who told her to appear in person.

Harry Dunn's family including dad Tim and mum Charlotte Charles have waged a three-year campaign to get justice for their sonHarry Dunn's family including dad Tim and mum Charlotte Charles have waged a three-year campaign to get justice for their son
Harry Dunn's family including dad Tim and mum Charlotte Charles have waged a three-year campaign to get justice for their son
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Harry Dunn: Anne Sacoolas avoids jail after causing Northamptonshire teen’s deat...

The family’s fight saw them badgering the UK government, two US presidents and government officials on both sides of the Atlantic. It sparked revelations Sacoolas worked as a CIA spy, claims she had been promoted months after the fatal crash, court hearings in the US and calls for public inquiries here.

Thousands, maybe millions, have followed the campaign here and in the USA. The Justice4Harry online fundraiser currently sits at nearly £159,000 to help meet their massive legal costs.

Speaking on BBC Radio Northampton recently, mum Charlotte said: “We have put ourselves out there. Harry has had to become a household name to get justice done. The support we have had has been immense. Without the support of the public and media, we wouldn't be here — it has all been worth it.”

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Northampton Town fan Harry, from Charlton, near Brackley, was riding his Kawasaki bike on the B4031 Park End near Croughton when it collided head on with a Volvo XC90 on August 27, 2019.

Paramedics took 43 minutes to reach the remote location after the urgency of his case was incorrectly judged not life-threatening based on the 999 call from a witness. If he had been classified as category one, the ambulance should have arrived within seven minutes. He later died at the major trauma centre of John Radcliffe Hospital 22 miles away in Oxford.

Tim told this newspaper a few weeks later: “I just really want to know the whole truth of the accident.

“We know the ambulance took 50 minutes to get there. I just want to know if she went to comfort my son. It pains me to think my son was there for 50 minutes — his arms broken, legs broken, pelvis broken, laying in a ditch… Just waiting.”

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A statement from Sacoolas’ lawyers in October 2019 claimed she had tried to help the injured rider, saying: “She spoke to Harry to tell him that she would call for help. She waved down another car. That driver pulled over and offered to assist Harry so that Anne could comfort her young children, who had been in her car and were on the scene.”

Northamptonshire Police said Sacoolas, the wife of a US military intelligence officer based at Croughton, had “fully engaged” with their investigations but then left the country a few days later after being granted diplomatic immunity in the US, sparking anger from supporters in the UK.

More than two years of deadlock was finally broken when the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed Sacoolas’ case would be heard at Westminster Magistrates' Court on January 18, 2022.

In the end, it took until September 29 for Sacoolas to appear via video link from her lawyer’s office in Washington DC. She was granted unconditional bail by magistrates and told to appear in person at the Old Bailey a month later — when she finally pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

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Sacoolas not guilty plea to another, more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service after consultation with Harry’s family, the Old Bailey was told.

Harry’s parents alongside Harry’s twin brother Niall — all wearing a Kawasaki green tie or scarf in memory of the teenager — heard the judge, Mrs Justice Bobbie Cheema-Grubb tell Sacoolas that there was nothing to stop her from attending a sentencing hearing.

She said: “The personal attendance and voluntary surrender to the court of Mrs Sacoolas would provide weighty evidence indeed of genuine remorse.”

News broke less than 48 hours before the hearing that Sacoolas would not follow the judge’s advice by attending in person. Instead, she would still be more than 3,500 miles away from the Old Bailey and from Harry’s friends and family when their son’s killer was sentenced.

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It prompted one more outraged statement from their long-time friend, legal adviser and spokesman Radd Seiger: “Harry's family are victims of a serious crime and they have been kept in the dark completely about what is to come at Thursday’s hearing since Mrs Sacoolas' guilty plea on October 20.

“We are horrified to learn that the United States government is now actively interfering in our criminal justice system. Their ongoing cruel treatment of Harry's parents is nothing short of inhumane and it continues to take a heavy toll on their mental health.”

It was not the first time Mr Seiger had spoken of the enormous strain the fight for justice had taken on Harry’s family. Hopefully, it will be the last.