Harry Dunn’s bereft parents today said the apology from the US spy’s wife who fled after knocking him down is seven weeks too late and described his broken body and final words before he died.
Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn have flown to New York and spoke to CBS as part of a media blitz in America to force Anne Sacoolas to give herself up and return to Britain.
The suspect, 42-year-old Mrs Sacoolas, had fled to the US in the wake of the fatality, claiming diplomatic immunity, and yesterday said she was devastated by the crash outside a US spy base in Northamptonshire and sent ‘her deepest sympathy to Harry Dunn’s family’.
Harry’s mother Charlotte told CBS’ Gayle King this morning: ‘Why has it taken so long? It’s seven weeks tomorrow since we lost our boy. We feel that statement should have come out from her right from the beginning instead of getting on a plane and running home.
‘We realise that obviously she may not have been given any choice as such under this supposed diplomatic immunity cloak which we’re not even sure she did have. We don’t believe she did – that’s being looked into as far as we’re aware’.
Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn have flown to New York and spoke first to CBS as part of a media blitz trying to force Anne Sacoolas to give herself up and return to Britain.
Harry’s father Tim broke down as he described his son’s final moments after being hit by a Volvo SUV driven by Anne Sacoolas (right(
Harry, 19, died when his motorbike crashed into a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27
Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn told Gayle King (pictured) that his father rushed to the scene of the crash in August to try to comfort Harry before he died
Meanwhile Harry’s father Tim broke down as he described his son’s final moments after being hit by Sacoolas’ Volvo SUV as she drove on the wrong side of the road.
How the diplomatic row unfolded
August 27: Harry Dunn, 19, was killed as he rode his motorbike near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US diplomat, reportedly hit him with her Volvo while driving on the wrong side of the road.
August 28: Police speak with Sacoolas but she is granted diplomatic immunity
August 28: September 16: Sacoolas leaves the country for the US
October 4: Harry’s parents call on President Trump to intervene and return Sacoolas to the UK
October 9: Boris Johnson says he will speak to Trump to ask for Sacoolas’s return and rescind diplomatic immunity
October 9: Trump defends Sacoolas, saying it’s difficult to drive on the correct side of the road in the UK
October 12: Lawyers from both sides make contact for the first time – and Sacoolas’ lawyer issues a statement on her behalf
October 14: Harry’s parents launch media blitz on US TV to smoke out Sacoolas and get her back to Britain
A friend in the fire service had told him about the crash and he said: ‘I just jumped in the car and went up there.
‘The paramedics were just, putting him onto the stretcher and pulling him out of the grass verge. I could see broken bones out of his arms and stuff but he was talking.
‘I spoke to him. I called over to him said: “Harry it’s your dad, they’re gonna fix you. Be calm, let them help you.”
‘He was complaining he couldn’t’ breathe very well. He sort of calmed then and then a couple of minutes later, one of the docs working on him said he’s struggling to breathe so we’re going to sedate him
‘I said to him they’re going to sedate you now we’ll see you later at hospital. They sedated him and that was the last time [we spoke]’.
The family has said they will only meet the US woman suspected of causing their son’s death if she promises to return to Britain.
Spokesman Radd Seiger told Sky News the condition was a ‘non-negotiable red line in the sand’ if Anne Sacoolas wished to meet with the teenager’s parents while they are in America.
Harry, 19, died when his motorbike crashed into a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27.
The suspect, 42-year-old Mrs Sacoolas, had fled to the US IN the wake of the fatality, claiming diplomatic immunity.
But that protection is now in dispute after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wrote to Harry’s parents over the weekend, telling them the government had ‘pressed strongly for a waiver of immunity, so that justice can be done.’
Harry’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, flew to the US on Sunday to, as Mr Seiger said, ‘put pressure on the US administration to do the right thing’.
Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn (pictured) hailed a ‘breakthrough’ after learning that US citizen Anne Sacoolas no longer has diplomatic immunity
Harry Dunn, 19, (pictured) was killed after Sacoolas, 42, crashed her Volvo SUV into him near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire
Ms Charles said before boarding her flight that she had received a letter from Mrs Sacoolas expressing her ‘deepest sympathies and apologies’.
‘To be perfectly honest, yes, it’s the start of some closure for our family,’ she was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.
‘Having said that, as it’s nearly seven weeks now since we lost our boy, sorry just doesn’t cut it’.
Earlier, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) wrote to the family to say Mrs Sacoolas did not have diplomatic immunity.
Mr Seiger said the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s letter stated: ‘The US have now informed us that they too consider that immunity is no longer pertinent.’
The letter, sent by Mr Raab to the family, said: ‘We have pressed strongly for a waiver of immunity, so that justice can be done… Whilst the US government has steadfastly declined to give that waiver, that is not the end of the matter.
‘We have looked at this very carefully… the UK Government’s position is that immunity, and therefore any question of waiver, is no longer relevant in Mrs Sacoolas’ case, because she has returned home.’
Mr Raab added that the matter was now ‘in the hands’ of Northamptonshire Police and the CPS.
An FCO spokesman told the PA news agency that the office ‘would not be commenting further on the content of the letter’.
Before the letter was sent by the FCO, the family’s lawyer Mark Stephens told PA: ‘There are approximately 20,000 official diplomats in this country – there’s a definitive list of who is and who isn’t.
‘We know definitively that this guy was not a diplomat and therefore was not entitled to diplomatic immunity. That has a number of consequences.
‘That means that the Americans have made a false claim. She would not have been entitled to claim diplomatic immunity.’
Meanwhile, Mrs Sacoolas’s legal representative Amy Jeffress, from the law firm Arnold and Porter, said: ‘Anne is devastated by this tragic accident.
‘No loss compares to the death of a child and Anne extends her deepest sympathy to Harry Dunn’s family.’
On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said America was ‘absolutely ruthless’ in its safeguarding of Mrs Sacoolas following the decision to grant her diplomatic immunity.
Mr Johnson said although President Donald Trump was sympathetic towards Mr Dunn’s family’s views on the use of diplomatic immunity, the US was ‘very reluctant’ to allow its citizens to be tried abroad.
Speaking of taking their campaign to the US, Mr Dunn’s family said in a statement that they ‘continue to live in a nightmare’ and have so far been unable to grieve after his death.
A statement released on behalf of the family said: ‘As if losing Harry was not enough, they now find themselves having to expend enormous time and energy, which they can ill afford, generating sufficient publicity to garner public support to persuade the US government to help achieve closure and return the driver Mrs Sacoolas to England to face the consequences of her actions.’
Mrs Charles said: ‘The letter from the FCO was amazing, we felt like we finally had a breakthrough, we finally had confirmed that the immunity that we didn’t think she had has been confirmed, that she doesn’t have it, certainly since she absconded back to the USA.
Mrs Charles (pictured) said: ”The letter from the FCO was amazing, we felt like we finally had a breakthrough, we finally had confirmed that the immunity that we didn’t think she had has been confirmed, that she doesn’t have it’
‘A statement from her lawyer is promising that we may be able to hopefully get a meeting put together – whether it’s face to face or lawyer to lawyer, not really sure on that basis yet but fingers crossed we’re stepping in the right direction.’
Mrs Sacoolas’s lawyers said she was ‘devastated’ and has expressed a desire to meet with the teenager’s family, who have arrived in New York in their quest for justice.
Harry’s parents are planning to give a series of interviews with America’s main TV networks to heap pressure on the US government to hand Mrs Sacoolas over.
Mrs Sacoolas’s lawyers released a statement at the weekend describing the death of Harry (pictured) in August as a ‘tragic accident
They will then travel to Washington DC to meet senior figures in the US government to express their outrage at the handling of the case.
Their lawyer Radd Seiger told the Mail: ‘Harry’s parents want to look the US President in the eye and ask him to resolve this painful situation. He needs to understand they are utterly heartbroken.
‘We will not rest until we have Mrs Sacoolas back in the UK. That’s the only way they can get closure.’
Mr Seiger said Mrs Sacoolas, 42, has been asked four times if she would be willing to return to the UK, and on each occasion she failed to respond to the question.
He added: ‘Harry’s family just want a direct answer as to whether she will to back to the UK and continue to help the police with their investigation.
‘We’ve asked the same question four separate times and on each occasion this question is ignored. That’s unacceptable.’
Mrs Charles, Harry’s mother, said that Mrs Sacoolas’s response to the crash ‘just doesn’t cut it’.
‘My opinion on Anne Sacoolas now wanting to come forward and say sorry… is not really quite enough,’ she told Sky News.
‘But I’m still really open to meeting her, as are the rest of us. I can’t promise what I would or wouldn’t say, but I certainly wouldn’t be aggressive.’ Harry’s parents are reluctant to meet the mother of three unless she gives some sort of assurances that she is willing to be extradited to the UK.
Police have CCTV of Sacoolas driving on the wrong side of the road (pictured are new signs that have appeared outside the RAF base) but she claimed diplomatic immunity, meaning detectives could not launch a criminal investigation
But the matter may now be taken out of her hands if the Crown Prosecution Service applies to the US to extradite her. As the wife of a US intelligence officer, Mrs Sacoolas initially claimed diplomatic immunity and fled the UK after the crash just outside the military base.
Harry suffered horrific injuries in the crash and died later in hospital.
Mrs Sacoolas had pulled out of the base, a US spy hub, on the wrong side of the road and collided with the teenager’s motorbike on the brow of a hill.
New road markings and a sign have appeared outside the base. Arrows indicating the direction of travel have been painted on each side of the road and a yellow ‘Please Drive on Left’ sign has also been placed on the roadside.
Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday played down suggestions that Mrs Sacoolas could be extradited from the US.
Asked on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show whether this could happen, she said: ‘It very much seems that the lady in question wants to start co-operating with the discussions and the investigations and I think that we should support that.
‘We need to ensure that justice is done but obviously that co-operation with this investigation takes place. That is absolutely right.’
How diplomat’s wife could now face prosecution for the crash
Before the crash, Anne Sacoolas was entitled to immunity from prosecution because she is married to a US diplomat.
This allowed her to fly home without being held by the British police.
But once back in America, Mrs Sacoolas’s husband was no longer considered to be at his post at RAF Croughton.
It meant the UK and US governments agreed Mrs Sacoolas is no longer entitled to immunity and could face prosecution over the crash if she sets foot on British soil.
For the case to continue, she must either return to the UK of her own volition or be extradited.
The Crown Prosecution Service can apply to the US government to extradite her, but there are no guarantees.