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Trump tells Harry Dunn’s parents that diplomat’s wife will not return to UK

UK News | Published:

The Britons are seeking justice after their son was killed in a motorcycle collision involving the wife of a US intelligence officer.

Harry Dunn death

The parents of Harry Dunn have vowed to continue their fight for justice following a White House meeting with Donald Trump where they were told the US woman allegedly responsible for their son’s death would not return to the UK.

Anne Sacoolas left the UK after the crash in Northamptonshire which killed the 19-year-old in August.

The family’s campaign has attracted interest on both sides of the Atlantic due to the chief suspect being the wife of a US diplomat stationed in the UK.

After their meeting with the US president, the family’s representative Radd Seiger said “the search for #Justice4Harry continues”.

The teenager’s parents said they had refused to meet Mrs Sacoolas who was also in the White House on Tuesday.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn said after their meeting with Mr Trump in the Oval Office that there had been “a little bit of progress”.

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Ms Charles said: “We didn’t get the answers that we wanted.

“They couldn’t tell us who made the decision to bring her back to the US. We asked how long she was there for and they still said three weeks.”

Harry Dunn
Harry Dunn (Northamptonshire Police/PA)

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.

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“I think maybe they were thinking that would be enough for us. We’re seven weeks on and it’s just not enough.”

Mr Dunn said of turning down the chance to meet Mrs Sacoolas at the White House: “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.”

But he added that the meeting “didn’t feel like a stunt – they didn’t try and force it on to us”.

Ms Charles added: “But I don’t think it would be appropriate to meet her without therapists or mediators in the room.”

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today Programme on Wednesday morning, Mr Dunn said a White House official had told them Ms Sacoolas would not be returning to the UK, but that Mr Trump himself had said he would “try to push this from a different angle”.

He added the president had appeared moved when he learned Harry was a twin, and had agreed he would be fighting for justice if one of his own children had been killed.

The scene of the crash outside RAF Croughton
The scene of the crash outside RAF Croughton (Steve Parsons/PA)

Mrs Sacoolas has previously said she was “terribly sorry” about the incident and had “no time to react” when she saw Mr Dunn’s motorbike near RAF Croughton on August 27.

Mr Dunn told the Today Programme Ms Sacoolas’s statement had made the situation “a little bit worse”.

“Now she’s admitted it, we don’t understand why she’s not coming back – she’s admitted her guilt but we still can’t get any further forward with getting her back for some justice for Harry.”

When asked what the family planned to do next, he said: “I think we’re going to stick around for a couple of days just to see if things progress because it’s just been like a snowball effect.

“We came on Sunday and within two days we’ve been to the White House. It’s absolutely bizarre and we just don’t know what the next day is likely to bring.”

In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Ms Charles said she wasn’t holding out too much hope that Ms Sacoolas would return.

“I think we’re just going to just be forever disappointed, forever disgusted in both the UK and US governments. It just doesn’t make sense to us as to why on earth this should be allowed to happen,” she said.

She added: “We didn’t embark on this without putting some really good thought into it. He would have done the same for anyone of us.

“We owe it to him to honour him and do our absolute best to get justice for Harry. If that doesn’t come in the way we want it, we will continue to work and we will try and get those diplomatic laws looked at.”

In a post on the Justice 4 Harry GoFundMe page, Ms Charles and Mr Dunn said of the meeting at the White House: “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 Raab in the UK last week, have also demanded an investigation into the Foreign Office’s (FCO) advice to Northamptonshire Police that Ms Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity.

They are demanding to see all emails, messages and notes sent in relation to her status.

Mr 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.”

Mr Seiger added: “If we’re not satisfied, then we’ll go to a judicial review and ask a High Court judge to review it all.”

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.

“The letter is worded very carefully, they’re not saying it’s just a change of heart – they are saying that it’s an evolution,” said Mr Seiger.

He also said that the family’s lawyers, Mark Stephens and Geoffrey Robertson QC, believe “they’ve (the FCO) been lying to you”.

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