February 8, 2023

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A US diplomat who escaped 3.5 years after a fatal accident in Britain was sentenced: "She is a coward" |  Abroad

A US diplomat who escaped 3.5 years after a fatal accident in Britain was sentenced: “She is a coward” | Abroad

American diplomat Anne Sacoolas was sentenced to eight months in prison for the murder of 19-year-old Harry Dunn in Britain in 2019. The incident caused a sensation and put a lot of pressure on the relationship between Washington and London. After the incident, Sacoolas invoked diplomatic immunity and immediately left for her home country with her husband and family.

The ruling now brings to an end an emotional and dramatic case that has dragged on for nearly 3.5 years.

On the wrong side of the road

Harry Dunn was riding his motorbike in August 2019 when he was kidnapped by Volvo Sacoolas. The then 42-year-old American was driving on the wrong side of the road at the time. She had just left the military base in Northamptonshire, England, where her husband worked.

The collision was head-on and hard. It immediately became apparent to the emergency services that young Harry was in poor condition. He later died in hospital from his injuries. Shortly after this fatal incident, Sacoolas left the United Kingdom under the protection of her diplomatic immunity.

Harry Dunn. © Facebook Justice4Harry

Great anger

The tragic incident infuriated England and led to diplomatic tensions between the two countries. The United States ignored an extradition request from a British court, and passions ran further when the teen’s parents visited the United States to talk to the media to build pressure. British authorities continued to request her extradition, but the United States refused to cooperate.

Last year, the American woman reached a settlement with the victim’s relatives, but she did not escape trial. It finally came to trial after 3.5 years, with a ruling in a London court yesterday.

Operation via video connection

Two months earlier, in October, the diplomat had admitted at trial that she had caused Dunne’s death because she had been driving on the wrong half of the road during the accident. “The American side She told British police officers earlier.

Photo from 2019. Roadside flowers for Dead Harry.

Photo from 2019. Roadside flowers for Dead Harry. © AFP

Throughout the process, the diplomat’s wife refused to be present physically. I also followed the ruling yesterday via video call from the United States. Her lawyer referred to the pressure exerted on her from the United States for this. This could also have been the reason she immediately returned to her home country after the accident and why she did not want to be present during the trial.

“My tragic mistake led to the loss of Harry. I live with that thought every day,” Sacoolas said in a statement. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of Harry.”

“big coward”

Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles responded tersely to the media present after yesterday’s hearing. “Deed done, promise kept.” She added that she was despicable that Sacoolas was not personally present in court and called the American a “great coward”.

Sacoolas eventually got off with 8 months probation, with a 12-month suspension. This means that she will only be imprisoned if she commits another crime in Britain in the next year.

Harry Dunn's mother Charlotte Charles (second from left) with husband Bruce Charles by her side.  Harry's father Tim Dunn (fifth from left) was present with his wife, Tracy (next to him).

Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles (second from left) with husband Bruce Charles by her side. Harry’s father Tim Dunn (fifth from left) was present with his wife, Tracy (next to him). © Reuters

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