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Former US spy to be sentenced for killing teenage motorcyclist outside air base

Former US spy to be sentenced for killing teenage motorcyclist outside air base
Former US spy to be sentenced for killing teenage motorcyclist outside air base

Arabnews24.ca:Thursday 8 December 2022 12:06 AM: The former US spy who killed teenager Harry Dunn is to be sentenced in an "unprecedented" case at the Old Bailey after his parents fought for three "torturous" years to get justice.

Anne Sacoolas left the UK in August 2019 - claiming diplomatic immunity following the fatal crash outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

The 45-year-old American was driving on the wrong side of the road when she hit Harry, 19, who was on his motorbike travelling in the opposite direction.

After years of legal wrangling and campaigning by Harry's family, Sacoolas pleaded guilty to causing his death by careless driving via video link from Washington DC.

Despite his family's wish for her to attend the sentencing in London, the US government has refused to allow her to travel to face justice in person.

The family have said they are "horrified" by Washington instructing Sacoolas to attend the court hearing remotely and accused the Americans of "actively interfering" in British justice.

Harry's father Tim Dunn told Sky News: "I think if you ever really told our story to somebody who didn't know (it) they wouldn't believe some of the stuff we've had ... from that awful night in the hospital.

"It's been worth all the heartache and the pain to prove that normal people from Northamptonshire can take on these people and get what should be done straightaway and get justice."

Initially, Sacoolas was described as a "diplomat's wife" but it later transpired that she was employed by a US intelligence agency at the time of the crash.

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Two months after the collision the family were asked to attend the White House and met Donald Trump, who had secretly organised for Anne Sacoolas to see them in the Oval Office.

The parents had no idea it was going to happen and refused to have the photo-call that Donald Trump had hoped for.

Image: Harry's father Tim Dunn, stepmother Tracey Dunn, mother Charlotte Charles and stepfather Bruce Charles

Even if Sacoolas was prepared to meet them again, Harry's parents told Sky News they have no real wish to speak to her.

Harry's mum Charlotte Charles said: "You never say never, but I don't think there's a chance at all of that.

"It's a bit too late. She's had three years."

Harry's dad Tim added: "I don't feel there's any need for me to meet her to be honest. I have nothing to say to her."

Both parents and their wider families have suffered as they've waited for justice, while it was felt nobody in authority was on their side.

"The effect is just exhaustion that you can't even begin to describe," Charlotte said.

"It's been totally torturous. It's not an exhaustion that you can go to bed and sleep off."

The end of the British court case marks a huge moment for the family - but they are still waiting for Harry's inquest, which can only start when criminal proceedings have ended.

There have been many days when it would have been easier to give up, but finally their son's killer will be sentenced in London with the judge's comments due to be televised.

It is a moment that fulfils a promise they made to their dying son that the driver responsible would not evade justice.

Charlotte added: "We're good, we're good with what we've achieved. It's done now."

Careless driving carries a maximum sentence of five years in England but a community service punishment or a suspended prison sentence is often given.

Nick Vamos, former head of extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service, said that appearing via video link from the US was a way of "circumventing extradition".

He added: "To go from start to finish without the defendant ever setting foot in the country, let alone in the courtroom, is unprecedented."

The judge is expected to clarify in court how any sentence Mrs Sacoolas receives would be served, with the defendant still in the US and voluntarily taking part in proceedings.

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