10 June 2024

Harry Dunn’s parents in emotional tribute to ‘desperately missed’ son at inquest

10 June 2024

Harry Dunn’s parents spoke of their “nightmare” as they paid an emotional tribute to their son at his inquest.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn gave pen portraits during proceedings at Sessions House in Northampton on Monday, as both tearfully recalled their memories of the teenage motorcyclist.

The 19-year-old was killed in August 2019 when US government employee Anne Sacoolas’s car collided with his bike while she was driving on the wrong side of the road outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

Diplomatic immunity was asserted on her behalf by the US State Department and she was able to leave the country shortly after the crash.

Mrs Charles told the court she believes her son should “still be alive today”, and thinking about his final moments “continues to shatter the already broken heart I already hold”.

Mr Dunn also paid tribute to Harry, saying: “The saddest thing is that the world is a lesser place without him.”

Delivering her pen portrait, Mrs Charles said: “Harry was vibrant, caring, funny and so terribly protective of myself and the rest of my family.

“He loved winding people up for a giggle. He was sensitive… outspoken, brutally honest, decisive and spontaneous

“He was ambitious, wanted to go places in life and to leave his mark. He was quick-witted and very intelligent.”

After taking a moment to compose herself, Mrs Charles tearfully continued: “He gave the biggest bear hugs – I can still feel them when I close my eyes and shut everything else out.

“I have tried to preserve as much as I could of our life with Harry.

“His spare winter bike jacket still hangs on his bedroom door, having been moved from where he left it on our kitchen table when justice was done.

“This is when I gave it a new home on his bedroom door and it hangs there really proudly.

“His toothbrush is still in the bathroom, as is his hair wax – just where he left them.”

Mrs Charles went on: “As a family, we have obviously been through a lot since Harry died and had one hell of a fight on our hands to survive.

“However, we have learned that Harry was not the first to die in these circumstances, and sadly he has not been the last.

It was my job as his mother to look after him and I couldn't do it

“We are deeply concerned that the issue of road safety outside US bases may have been neglected by both governments and I would like the coroner to inquire into why that is.

“I feel that Harry should still be alive today.”

Addressing how Harry’s death had affected her, Mrs Charles said: “My heart is as broken as it is ever going to get knowing that Harry was dying in agony in the ditch on the side of the road without professional help to treat and comfort him for such a long time.

“It continues to shatter the already broken heart I already hold.

“It haunts me every night before I go to bed.

“I did not make it to the hospital in time to comfort Harry and say goodbye to him. He had passed moments before we arrived.

“That guilt as his mum will haunt me forever and leaving him at the hospital that night was the worst thing I ever had to do.

“It was my job as his mother to look after him and I couldn’t do it.

“Our lives were turned upside down when Harry died. I dream of him often and those dreams are very vivid.

“He has left such a big hole in our hearts and our lives and we are just totally broken.

“More than anything else, we miss him and mourn the future he’s lost and the family he could have gone on to have.

“Being here at Harry’s inquest is also incredibly painful, but we hope it will provide us with some answers, however painful they are to hear.”

Emotionally finishing her tribute, Mrs Charles said: “Harry loved his family. Harry loved his friends. Harry had so much more to give on this Earth and is desperately missed by all.”

Delivering his own pen portrait of his son, Mr Dunn said: “After officially identifying his body with the police, we left the hospital totally numb – not knowing that the real hell was about to start.

“No more Harry, no more hearing him laugh, no more of his cheeky grin, no more days at the football.

“When I think back to the night he died it seems unreal, almost like a nightmare.”

He continued: “It felt like I was looking down from above, surveying what was happening but unable to say or change anything.

“I couldn’t believe what was in front of my eyes.

“I would have done anything that night to change the outcome for Harry.

“He would have given so much love, joy and happiness.

“The saddest thing is that the world is a lesser place without him.”

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