Harry Dunn's mother rejects Anne Sacoolas' offer of community service
‘There’s no price on my son’s life’: Harry Dunn’s heartbroken mother rejects Anne Sacoolas’ offer to ‘do community service’ in the US and make a ‘contribution’ in his memory
- Anne Sacoolas collided with Harry’s motorcycle outside RAF Croughton in 2019
- She was on wrong side of road and charged with death by dangerous driving
- Her lawyer Amy Jeffress said Sacoolas she has ‘never denied’ responsibility
- But she would only offer community service and ‘contribution in his memory’
- Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles said Sacoolas should be extradited to the UK
Harry Dunn’s mother has blasted his suspected killer for offering to carry out community service and make a ‘contribution’ in the 19-year-old’s memory – instead of facing criminal charges in the UK.
Anne Sacoolas, 43, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving after colliding with Harry’s motorcycle outside RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, in 2019 – while on the wrong side of the road.
Her lawyer Amy Jeffress said Sacoolas has ‘never denied’ responsibility for Harry’s death – but her client was not inclined to return to the UK to face trial because the charge would not usually result in a prison sentence in the US.
Therefore, Sacoolas would be willing to offer community service because it is ‘a typical sentence for offences like this’ – and ‘make a contribution in Harry’s memory’.
But Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles criticized the offer, saying ‘there is no price on Harry’s life’.
Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles has blasted his suspected killer Anne Sacoolas, 43, (right) for offering to carry out community service and a ‘contribution’ in his memory instead of facing criminal charges in the UK
Anne Sacoolas, 43, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving after colliding with 19-year-old Harry’s (pictured) motorcycle outside RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, in 2019 – while on the wrong side of the road
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: ‘I’m not willing to discuss a contribution, whatever she may mean by that.
‘She needs to go through the UK justice system.
‘We all know diplomatic immunity is not there to cover somebody for killing a child in the way it happened and to be able to walk away.’
In the heartbreaking interview, she said she promised Harry she would get justice for him the night he died, adding: ‘There are no circumstances at all under which I will break that promise.’
She added: ‘It’s literally unbreakable – that bond never gets broken, it’s never severed, the heart’s in pieces, every bone in your body can hurt and it can ache.
Sacoolas was charged with causing death by dangerous driving after colliding with 19-year-old Harry’s motorcycle outside RAF Croughton (pictured), Northamptonshire, in 2019 – while on the wrong side of the road
‘But that determination and that love for your child just holds you together and gives you everything you need to carry on.’
The US Government asserted diplomatic immunity on behalf of Sacoolas following the road crash in August, 2019.
She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving – but an extradition request submitted by the Home Office was rejected by the US State Department in January last year.
Yesterday, her lawyer Ms Jeffress said she and Sacoolas were striving to resolve the case in a manner that would not involve a return to the UK.
‘We understand that community service is a typical sentence for offences like this,’ Ms Jeffress told BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action programme.
‘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.’
She said Sacoolas was ‘truly sorry for Harry’s family and the pain that his has caused’.
‘She’s willing to meet with the family to provide whatever information they are seeking; and we truly hope that we can do that and give the family some measure of peace,’ Ms Jeffress told the programme.
Ms Jeffress said Sacoolas had only been in the UK for ‘a few weeks’ when she had made the tragic mistake of ‘instinctively’ driving her car on the wrong side of the road and colliding with Mr Dunn’s motorcycle.
Sacoolas is willing to offer community service because it is ‘a typical sentence for offences like this’ – and would ‘make a contribution in Harry’s memory’. Pictured: Harry Dunn
Harry’s mother Ms Charles (pictured) blasted the offer, saying Sacoolas should be extradited to the UK to face trial here
But she added such cases in the US were only prosecuted criminally if there was ‘evidence of recklessness that rises to the level of close to intent – drunk driving, distracted driving, a hit-and-run situation or excessive speeding … But there was none of that here’.
Ms Jeffress told the BBC she understood this was one of the reasons the US did not waive Sacoolas’s diplomatic immunity.
She also denied reports Sacoolas had not called for help after the crash, saying she had flagged down another motorist who had called an ambulance while Sacoolas notified police at Croughton, where she worked with her husband for the US State Department.
Sacoolas had cooperated with local police, Ms Jeffress said, supplied a zero-reading breathalyser test, surrendered her phone to show she had not been using it, and was interviewed by police for several hours.
Ms Jeffress’s comments come a week after Mr Dunn’s family was given the go-ahead to proceed with a civil claim for damages against Sacoolas and her husband.
A judge’s ruling in Virginia has taken the Dunn family a step closer to a legal showdown with suspect Anne Sacoolas, 18 months on from Mr Dunn’s death.
Should there be no settlement in the case, the next legal step would be a ‘deposition’, in which Sacoolas and her husband would be forced to provide their account of events outside of court.
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