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US diplomat's wife at centre of UK fatal crash row says she's 'devastated by this tragic accident'

Harry Dunn (19) died when his motorbike crashed into a car outside and RAF base.

Charlotte Charles, the mother of Harry Dunn.
Charlotte Charles, the mother of Harry Dunn.
Image: PA Images

 THE WOMAN AT the centre of a diplomatic row following the death in the UK of 19-year-old Harry Dunn has said she’s “devastated” by what happened. 

Dunn died when his motorbike crashed into a car outside an RAF base in Northamptonshire on 27 August.

The driver of the car, 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas – who is married to a US official – was granted diplomatic immunity following the crash.

However, the UK government has now said that this does not apply.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has written to Dunn’s family about Sacoolas and, according to the BBC and Sky News, has said: “The US have now informed us that they too consider that immunity is no longer pertinent.”

“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,”  BBC News quoted Raab’s letter saying.

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.

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told the PA news agency that the office “would not be commenting further on the content of the letter”.

Meanwhile, 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.

The family’s spokesman, Radd Seiger, said in a statement that he had spoken with Jeffress and the pair had agreed “to get together asap … to discuss how we are going to achieve a solution”.

Seiger added that he was studying the FCO letter “with legal and political experts” to “fully understand where that leaves us”.

He added:

That all said, clearly a positive step forward but we won’t rest until we get #Justice4Harry.

Read: Explainer: How does diplomatic immunity work? >

It comes as Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, said they would be flying to the US to “put pressure on the US administration to do the right thing”.

Earlier, Sacoolas’ lawyer said: “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.

The lawyer said her client spoke with “authorities” at the scene of the crash and met Northampton police at her home the following day.

“She will continue to cooperate with the investigation,” the lawyer said.

‘Ruthless’

On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the US was “absolutely ruthless” in its safeguarding of Sacoolas following the decision to grant her diplomatic immunity.

Boris Johnson said although President Donald Trump was sympathetic towards Mr Dunn’s family’s views on the use of diplomatic immunity, the US is “very reluctant” to allow 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.

Mr Dunn’s family are due to fly to the US on Sunday, ITV News reported.

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.”

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