Harry Dunn’s parents drop plan to sue US government

‘All we ever wanted was that the person responsible be held to account,’ say family

Related video: Andrea Leadsom calls on Donald Trump to intervene in Harry Dunn case
Related video: Andrea Leadsom calls on Donald Trump to intervene in Harry Dunn case

The parents of Harry Dunn have dropped plans to sue the US government over his death in a crash allegedly involving the wife of an American intelligence official.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn said they had made the decision in the hope the Trump administration would allow suspect Anne Sacoolas to face the UK justice system.

It comes after ministers indicated the UK attorney general, Suella Braverman QC, was considering a virtual trial or a trial in Ms Sacoolas’ absence while she remains in the US.

The US State Department, which refused an extradition request from the Home Office, said it was looking for a “reasonable resolution” of the case.

Speaking after the decision to withdraw the claim, Mrs Charles said: “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.

“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.

“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.”

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

Ms Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity and left the UK after the crash involving Mr Dunn, 19, outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.

She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in December but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected the extradition request from the Home Office.

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.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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