Harry Dunn family have PTSD over teenager’s death, spokesman says as parents give evidence in US

Exclusive: ‘We are enduring life, not living it,’ says Charlotte Charles as the couple give evidence in damages case

Chiara Giordano
Friday 02 July 2021 14:28
<p>Harry Dunn’s parents flew to the US to give evidence under oath as part of a damages claim against their son’s alleged killer</p>

Harry Dunn’s parents flew to the US to give evidence under oath as part of a damages claim against their son’s alleged killer

Harry Dunn’s parents are suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder almost two years on from the teenage motorcyclist’s death, their spokesman revealed after they gave evidence in a damages case.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn flew to Washington DC to give legal testimony under oath as part of their depositions after bringing a civil claim against their son’s alleged killer.

Ms Charles said the trip had been “arduous and difficult” but that their son would have been proud of them as they “stood up and spoke for him as he cannot speak for himself now”.

“We are so glad that our depositions are out of the way now,” she said. “We can’t go into the detail of what happened at all but we were required to come out to the USA to do the depositions in person and that is just what we have done.”

She added: “We are enduring life, not living it, but we will do everything in our power to get justice for our boy and for ourselves. He deserves that.”

Describing the toll the last 22 months – coupled with the various civil and criminal cases – have taken on Mr Dunn’s parents and twin brother Niall, family spokesman Radd Seiger revealed they were recently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“The formal diagnosis was made roughly one month ago, but they have been suffering from the illness since Harry died,” he told The Independent.

“That sense of not being in control absolutely plays havoc with their mental health. They are all depressed and they are on medication.

“They want people to know the reality – that is the brutal reality,” he added. “That uncertainty, I think, is the most dangerous thing.”

Harry Dunn (left) with his mother Charlotte Charles and twin brother Niall (right)

Mr Dunn died at the age of 19 when a car driven by suspect Anne Sacoolas, 43, crashed into his motorbike outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on 27 August 2019.

Ms Sacoolas, who left the UK following the crash after having diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf, was later charged with causing the teenager’s death by dangerous driving. The US State Department rejected an extradition request in January 2020.

The 43-year-old will now have to give legal testimony at the end of August as part of the civil claim against her and her husband Jonathan.

Mr Dunn’s father, Tim, said the overseas trip was “another giant step towards getting justice in the civil claim”.

Harry Dunn died at the age of 19 after his motorbike was involved in a crash with a car driven by Anne Sacoolas outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on 27 August 2019

He added: “We know the path is now clear in the criminal case too and I want to appeal on behalf of my family to the authorities in both London and Washington to do everything within their power to help alleviate our suffering a little and speed up the process of justice in the criminal case.”

The depositions on Thursday were part of a “discovery” process in the Dunn family’s claim, which will see relevant documentation, including previously unheard material, handed over ahead of a trial at the end of the year.

Earlier this month, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the US had not agreed to the extradition of Ms Sacoolas but that “the path is clear” for the UK to push for a form of “virtual trial or process” in the case.