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22 September 2021

Harry Dunn’s mother speaks of ‘enormous relief’ after damages claim resolution but still wants criminal proceedings against alleged killer

22 September 2021

The mother of Harry Dunn has spoken of her “enormous relief” at finding a resolution in a damages claim filed against her son’s alleged killer.

Charlotte Charles told the PA news agency that balancing a criminal and a civil case had “taken so much of our energy and resources”, adding she was “confident” criminal proceedings would take place against Anne Sacoolas.

At the White House on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said President Joe Biden had been “personally trying to move things along” in the case and added he was “grateful for that”.

The two leaders met on the day the parents of 19-year-old Mr Dunn, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, reached a “resolution” in their civil claim in the US against Sacoolas for damages.

The 44-year-old suspect was charged with causing death by dangerous driving following a road crash outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019.

Diplomatic immunity was asserted on Sacoolas’s behalf by the US Government and she was able to return to her home country 19 days after the collision.

An extradition request submitted by the Home Office was rejected by the US State Department in January 2020.

We can now focus on the criminal case and we are very confident that is going to happen now

Speaking to PA, Mrs Charles said: “It’s an enormous relief for my family and I to have reached a resolution in the civil case with the other side.

“It’s taken so much of our energy and resources and been stressful having to travel to the US in the middle of the pandemic.

“We can now focus on the criminal case and we are very confident that is going to happen now.

“We really need to try to take small steps forward for our mental health. We have achieved so much but there is still so much more to do.

“We have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to reflect on all our achievements, and while we wait for the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) I really want to spend some time with my family just absorbing all the successes of the campaign and to try to be kind to ourselves.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn flew to the US to give evidence under oath as part of the civil claim (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

“Every day is still a struggle. Just getting out of bed sometimes or even simple things like figuring out what to eat can be overwhelming.

“We just miss Harry so much and our hearts are broken. We hope they will mend one day and we can begin to get back to some sort of normality but not until after the prosecution and the inquest into Harry’s death.

“We still have so many questions that need answering.”

Mr Biden weighed in after the resolution in the civil claim was reached.

Sitting next to Mr Johnson in the Oval Office, the president told reporters: “That case is being worked on.

“I was under the impression there had been a civil settlement reached, but I don’t know that. Based on what I’ve been told it was not an intentional act. But I will follow up on that.”

“It was someone who’s new… driving down the wrong side of the road, quote unquote.

Harry Dunn was killed in a road crash in August 2019 (Family handout/PA) (PA Media)

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told reporters an agreement in the damages claim was “absolutely not” the end of the matter.

Speaking on the train to Washington where she will meet Mr Biden, Mrs Truss was asked if the resolution of the civil case in the UK was the end of the road for the British effort for Sacoolas’s return.

“Absolutely not. We continue to press for justice for Harry,” she said.

The details of the agreement have not been disclosed, but family spokesman Radd Seiger said the resolution means Mr Dunn’s parents can turn their focus to the pending criminal case.

Mrs Truss said she had raised the case of Mr Dunn with US secretary of state Antony Blinken.

The damages claim, brought against Sacoolas and her husband Jonathan, unearthed a great deal of previously unheard material, such as the State Department roles held by the couple at the time of the crash.

Alexandria District Court in the US state of Virginia heard the pair’s work in intelligence was a “factor” in their departure from the UK, as they left for “security reasons”.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Sacoolas have been approached for comment.

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