Harry Dunn was killed on August 27 while riding his motorbike near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. The 19-year-old was allegedly struck by a car riding on the wrong side of the road, with US citizen Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US diplomat working at the airbase, the suspect in the case. Charlotte Charles, the mother of Harry, issued a heartbreaking plea to Ms Sacoolas urging her to waive the diplomatic immunity she claimed before rushing back to the US in the aftermath of the crash.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Ms Charles lamented the “inhumane” treatment her family has been subjected to since Harry’s death in August.
Asked whether Ms Sacoolas or her family had reached out to the Dunns, Ms Charles said: “Nothing, absolutely nothing.
“I think that’s one of the hardest things we’re having to deal with because now we’ve got a name and we have a face and still nothing.
“It just seems inhumane. It just doesn’t feel right.”
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She continued: “As a mother myself – and many other people that have come forward in support for us, even more support form the USA over the last 24 hours – it’s really distressing not to have any word from her, being a mum herself.
“I can’t get my head around that, it doesn’t sit well with me. We feel very, very supported and we are extremely grateful.
“We had many words of comfort but nothing is really going to help us grieve.”
Diplomatic immunity is a legal guarantee which allows diplomats and their relatives are not subjected to prosecution or lawsuits under the law of the host’s country. A host country can however choose to expel a foreign diplomat or members of their family should they be suspected of having committed a crime.
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Ms Charles claimed her family received no information from the US Embassy in London until mid-September, noting they were only contacted after pointing out Harry’s stepdad is also a US citizen.
She continued: “They sent us a letter, dated September 17, so a good three weeks after we lost Harry.
“That letter seemed to coincide with only 48 hours earlier having informed them that Harry’s stepdad-second dad is a US citizen himself. We’d had absolutely nothing prior to that point.
“That seems to have prompted a letter from Woody Johnson but apart from that, we’ve had absolutely nothing. We’ve had nothing from the RAF base in Croughton, we’ve had nothing from the MoD.
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“We were just left to try and deal with the fact we’d lost Harry and that we just were expected to get on with it. But it’s not right, it doesn’t sit right, there’s a feeling in the pit of our stomach that tells us it’s not right.”
Harry Dunn’s dad Tim also joined his ex-partner’s plea in urging Anne Sacoolas to return to the UK as he confirmed they are considering travelling to the US to meet with her.
Mr Dunn said: “She must have a choice, she’s her own person.
“She must know what’s going on now surely, deep down in her heart, she must realise coming back is the right thing to do.”
The US Department of State confirmed the car that struck Harry was driven by the wife of a US diplomat. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab requested the US agree to waive diplomatic immunity but was refused.
The US State Department said it was in “close consultation” with British officials and has offered its “deepest sympathies” to the family of Mr Dunn.
Speaking during a visit to a hospital in Watford, the Prime Minister said: “I think everybody’s sympathies are very much with the family of Harry Dunn and our condolences to them for their tragic loss. I must answer you directly, I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose.
“And I hope that Anne Sacoolas will come back and will engage properly with the processes of law as they are carried out in this country. That’s a point that we’ve raised or are raising today with the American ambassador here in the UK and I hope it will be resolved very shortly. And to anticipate a question you might want to raise, if we can’t resolve it then of course I will be raising it myself personally with the White House.”
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