Harry Dunn’s family drop plan to sue US government after the death of their 19-year-old son

HARRY Dunn’s family confirmed they have dropped their intention to sue the US government after their son’s death.

Mr Dunn, 19, died when his motorbike crashed into a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year after which suspect Anne Sacoolas fled the UK.

(L-R) Harry's mother Charlotte Charles, stepfather Bruce Charles, family spokesman Radd Seiger and father Tim Dunn

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(L-R) Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles, stepfather Bruce Charles, family spokesman Radd Seiger and father Tim DunnCredit: PA:Press Association

The victim’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, previously said they would pursue a claim against President Donald Trump’s administration for its handling of their son’s case.

But Mrs Charles has told the PA news agency that the family “can now see that the US government are working towards” Sacoolas facing the UK justice system.

Speaking after their decision to no longer pursue a claim against the US government, Mrs Charles told PA: “We never wanted any of this.

“All we ever wanted was what anyone else in our shoes would have wanted, that the person responsible for taking Harry’s life be held to account.

“We are going through a living nightmare and we need closure. We will only get that when Mrs Sacoolas faces our justice system.”

The US State Department recently said it was looking for a “reasonable resolution” after news emerged that the UK Attorney General, Suella Braverman QC, was considering the possibility of a virtual trial or a trial in Sacoolas’s absence.

JUSTICE SYSTEM

The Dunn family said they hoped their decision to no longer pursue a claim against the US government would encourage them to meet with the family and discuss a way forward in their quest for a trial in the UK.

Sacoolas, 43, the wife of a US intelligence official, claimed diplomatic immunity following the collision in which Mr Dunn died and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.

She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in December but an extradition request, submitted by the Home Office, was rejected by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a month later.

Mrs Charles continued: “We can now see that the US government are working towards that end and we would like to meet with them as parents to explain why that is important and to help the discussions.

“I am proud of my family. I’m grateful that we now appear to be in the home straight of the worst period of our lives and look forward hopefully to building bridges.

Harry Dunn, 19, was killed on August 27, 2019 when his motorcycle crashed into an SUV 

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Harry Dunn, 19, was killed on August 27, 2019 when his motorcycle crashed into an SUV Credit: PA:Press Association

“I think back to the early days before our campaign started when our advisers were working so hard behind the scenes to avoid any dispute and to avoid any publicity.

“That was all thrown back in our faces at the time. I hope they accept our offer of a meeting this time and will look forward to bringing this awful situation to an end.”

Explaining the decision to no longer pursue the lawsuit, family spokesman Radd Seiger said: “Harry Dunn’s parents were relieved to see the signal from the State Department in Washington that they are now working with their counterparts in London to find a resolution to the impasse following Anne Sacoolas’s departure to the US after Harry died.

“They have accordingly equally now signalled to the US government that they do not intend to sue them in respect of their decision to recall Mrs Sacoolas and have written to officials in the US Embassy in London to make a comprehensive offer an amicable meeting to help the parties find the resolution that is now desperately needed on all sides.

“That resolution will only involve Mrs Sacoolas going through the English justice system and if our offer of a meeting is accepted, the parents intend to speak directly to the US government to tell them why it is so important that justice is done here.”

Harry Dunn with his mother Charlotte Charle

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Harry Dunn with his mother Charlotte CharleCredit: PA:Press Association

Mr Seiger continued: “From the outset, the parents have always tried to enter into dialogue with others to find a resolution.

“This is not a situation of their making and I know there is a lot of regret both in Washington and London about decisions that were taken last September when Harry died.

“If the US government and Mrs Sacoolas now step forward to do the right thing, we have indicated to the US government that we would very much like to play our part in helping to heal the deep wounds left by this decision, not only in terms of relations between both countries, but also locally in our community where RAF Croughton sits.

“There is an awful lot of good that can be done here with the parents at the forefront of that but that will require the US government to stop denying justice for Harry.”

Harry's family says Anne Sacoolas left the UK ‘unlawfully’ after the crash

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Harry’s family says Anne Sacoolas left the UK ‘unlawfully’ after the crash

The Dunn family have said they will continue to pursue a civil claim against Anne Sacoolas in the US.

In a statement, a US State Department spokesman said they had worked with their UK counterparts from the outset to find a “mutually acceptable” path forward.

The spokesman said they continued to engage with the UK to find a “reasonable resolution”.

Last week, Harry Dunn’s family blasted a diplomat for having a retirement do on the anniversary of the 19-year-old’s death.

They blame the Foreign Office for the suspect leaving for the US after the teen motorcyclist died.

FCO permanent under-secretary Sir Simon McDonald had a retirement party on the anniversary of Harry's death

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FCO permanent under-secretary Sir Simon McDonald had a retirement party on the anniversary of Harry’s deathCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Sir Simon McDonald, who is quitting as FCO permanent under-secretary after five years, tweeted a “thank you” to staff for Thursday’s event.

Dunn family adviser Radd Seiger said: “I am appalled and horrified to learn that Sir Simon’s leaving do was organised on the very evening one year from Harry’s death.”

The family says spook’s wife Anne Sacoolas, 42, left “unlawfully” after the crash. The FCO insists it “continues to seek justice for Harry”.

Mr Seiger added: “It seems that the very people who allowed Mrs Sacoolas to leave unlawfully didn’t have Harry on their mind.

“I do not know whose bright idea it was to arrange the do on 27th August, but whoever it was needs to have a good long look at themselves in the mirror.

“Life goes on and Sir Simon is entitled to a leaving do, but on the anniversary of Harry’s death?”

An FCO spokesperson said: “We have the deepest sympathy for Harry’s family on the anniversary of his tragic death. We will continue to support the family and seek justice for Harry.”

Harry Dunn as a toddler

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Harry Dunn as a toddlerCredit: PA:Press Association
Harry Dunn’s parents ‘couldn’t be any more proud of him’ as they vow to not ‘stop’ fighting’ for justice one year on from hit-and-run crash

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