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UK news Harry Dunn's parents say they will only meet Anne Sacoolas if she returns to UK
Wife of US official expressed ‘deepest sympathies and apologies’ but Dunn’s mother says ‘sorry just doesn’t cut it’
The parents of 19-year-old Harry Dunn have said they will only meet the American woman suspected of causing their son’s death if she promises to return to Britain.
Anne Sacoolas, 42, left the UK shortly after the collision between Dunn’s motorbike and a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on 27 August.
She is believed to have been driving the car, but while she met with Northamptonshire police no investigation followed after the force was advised by the UK government that she had the protective status granted to foreign diplomats.
Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, flew to the US on Sunday to “continue our fight for justice”. A family spokesman said on Monday that they would only meet with Sacoolas if she agreed to return to the UK.
Charles said she had received a letter from Sacoolas expressing her “deepest sympathies and apologies” before boarding her flight. “To be perfectly honest, yes, it’s the start of some closure for our family,” she said. “Having said that, as it’s nearly seven weeks now since we lost our boy, sorry just doesn’t cut it.”
After six weeks of silence, Sacoolas issued a statement through her legal representative on Sunday to say she was “devastated by the tragic accident”. “No loss compares to the death of a child and Anne extends her deepest sympathy to Harry Dunn’s family,” she said.
Her lawyers said she had fully cooperated with the police. “She spoke with authorities at the scene of the accident and met with the Northampton police at her home the following day. She will continue to cooperate with the investigation,” the statement continued.
“Anne would like to meet with Mr Dunn’s parents so that she can express her deepest sympathies and apologies for this tragic accident. We have been in contact with the family’s attorneys and look forward to hearing from them.”
Speaking to Sky News on Monday, Radd Seiger, a spokesman for the parents, said Sacoolas needed to come back to the UK, present herself to Northamptonshire police and “let the process go where it may”. “We’re very clear there’s not much point in meeting and having pleasantries if that commitment isn’t there,” he said.
Lawyers advising Dunn’s family have disputed whether or not Sacoolas ever had a right to diplomatic immunity. But the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, wrote to them on Saturday to say that Sacoolas’s immunity was now irrelevant as she had returned home.
“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,” the letter read.
“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’s case, because she has returned home. The US have now informed us that they too consider that immunity is no longer pertinent.”
Dunn’s parents are considering pursuing Sacoolas in the US courts for a civil claim. In a statement released before they travelled to the US, they said they “continue to live in a nightmare” and have so far been unable to grieve after his death.
“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,” it said.
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