By Chris King • 08 December 2022 • 17:58
Two districts of Paris blacked out with 100,000 residents affected
A judge in the Old Bailey today, Thursday, December 8, finally sentenced Anne Sacoolas for the death of 19-year-old Harry Dunn on August 27, 2019. The 45-year-old American was handed an eight-month suspended sentence, which means she will not go to prison.
Sacoolas admitted that her vehicle struck the young man’s motorcycle while driving on the wrong side of the road. She pleaded guilty to causing Harry Dunn’s death by careless driving. Her two young children were in the back of her car at the time of the incident three years.
Following the crash in Northamptonshire, Sacoolas was granted diplomatic immunity due to her work with the US intelligence agencies. Originally, she had claimed her husband was a diplomat but her real occupation was later revealed.
Police investigators questioned her after Scaoolas returned to America. During the interview, she allegedly said that as he lay dying, Mr Dunn asked her for help and ‘made a comment that he was driving on his side of the road’.
‘It was when I got my kids to the side of the road that I realised what happened. It wasn’t until that point that I realised that I had driven on the American side of the road versus the UK side’, she continued.
The court was told that since July of that same year, she had previously driven the exact same route on five previous occasions. On the day of the accident, after exiting RAF Croughton, a US military facility, Sacoolas apparently drove on the wrong side of the road for a distance of 350 metres in 26 seconds. During that time, she passed road signs which should have surely alerted her to her road position.
Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson KC told the court that Sacoolas cried at the scene of the crash and told police officers that she had ‘made a mistake’ and was ‘so stupid’.
Charlotte Charles, Harry Dunn’s mother, read a statement to the court that said: ‘My job is to comfort my children and I wasn’t there for Harry to comfort him in what must have been an awful and painful, slow death, particularly as he lay on the side of the road waiting for an ambulance bleeding to death’.
She continued: ‘I beat myself up over and over again and wish I had left work earlier so that I could have gotten to him in time. If I had left work on time that night, I would have been able to delay him leaving the house, so that he wouldn’t have been travelling along the same road as Anne Sacoolas’.
‘There is no doubt that the calm and dignified persistence of these parents and the family of that young man has led through three years of heartbreak and effort to your appearance before this court and the opportunity for you to acknowledge your guilt of a crime’, said Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, the sentencing judge.
According to Ben Cooper KC, defending Sacoolas, his client was ‘deeply sorry for the pain I have caused’. He claimed that she played no part in being granted diplomatic immunity and that she had not asked for it. The refusal of the Home Office to grant an extradition request was not her doing either he added.
Today’s hearing was conducted via a video link to the US. It had been hoped that Sacoolas would be forced to fly to the UK to attend but that did not materialise. It appears that the US government advised her not to attend the court today.
‘We had all come to expect that Anne Sacoolas would, at last, be doing the right thing and coming back as ordered to by the judge. But to hear now that her government employer has interfered with that only compounds our misery’, commented Mrs Charles before the sentencing.
‘It makes us even more determined than ever, when the sentence is passed, to make sure that the US government never treats another British family so badly again’, as reported by metro.co.uk.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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