Harry Dunn death: Mother says she ‘won’t stop’ in fight for justice on first anniversary

Charlotte Charles feeling ‘positive’ at prospect of virtual trial involving alleged killer Anne Sacoolas – an idea now under consideration by attorney general

Adam Forrest
Thursday 27 August 2020 17:57
Harry Dunn death: Mother says she will not give up fighting for justice on first anniversary

Harry Dunn’s mother has marked the first anniversary of her son’s death by saying his name is “forever written into history”, and vowed to carry on his family’s fight for justice.

Charlotte Charles said she “won’t stop” campaigning until the alleged killer of her 19-year-old son – who died after his motorbike collided with a car on 27 August last year – has faced the justice system in the UK.

Earlier this week justice secretary Robert Buckland said the attorney general was considering the possibility of trying Anne Sacoolas, already charged with causing the death, virtually in the UK even while she remains in the US.

Ms Sacoolas, 42, the wife of a US intelligence official, claimed diplomatic immunity following the crash and was able to return to her home country – sparking an international controversy.

Ms Charles described the prospect of a virtual trial as “positive”, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’ve said right from the beginning of the campaign that all want is for her to face the UK justice system. We need that justice.”

Harry’s father Tim Dunn added: “It’s not about vengeance for us. It’s about getting closure.”

A year on from his death, Ms Charles said the whole family was “very, very proud” of their efforts to ensure no family would “suffer like we had” after a loophole was closed which had allowed Mr Dunn’s alleged killer to claim diplomatic immunity.

One of the ambitions of the Dunn family’s campaign was to close the loophole that allowed Sacoolas to claim immunity, a matter that was resolved by foreign secretary Dominic Raab in July.

Ms Sacoolas was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in December, but the US State Department has since rejected an extradition request, saying that the decision was “final”.

Ms Charles told BBC’s Breakfast: “It’s time [for Ms Sacoolas to stand trial]. It was time a year ago. We don’t want to go into year two of fighting. We want to go into year two to try to start to rebuild our lives, and try to start possibly celebrating who Harry was.”

“It doesn’t feel like we’re living, we’re just existing at the moment. And that’s why we need justice, because without it we’ll always feel like we are just existing.”

Parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn

Ms Charles and Mr Dunn have seen their fight for justice take them to the Foreign Office and the White House, where they met with Donald Trump.

Referring to the pledge for justice she made to her son on the night he died, Harry’s mother said: “That’s what keeps you going. The burning desire to want to complete that promise. I’ve got to complete that promise I made to him, it doesn’t matter what it takes, I need to do it, I have to do it.”

The family’s spokesman Radd Seiger said the family would “raise no objection” to a virtual trial, led by a British judge in a British Court, if the authorities decide it can proceed.

It follows the justice secretary’s reply to a letter from the family’s MP Andrea Leadsom, stating that “holding a trial virtually” was being considered by attorney general Suella Braverman QC.

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