Harry Dunn's killer Anne Sacoolas given eight-month suspended sentence

Sacoolas appeared via video link to hear verdict at London's Old Bailey

An artist's drawing of US citizen Anne Sacoolas, right, and her lawyer, both of whom appeared in court via video link. PA
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A US citizen has been sentenced to eight months in prison for causing the death of a teenage motorcyclist in England.

Anne Sacoolas, 45, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving after being behind the wheel on the wrong side of the road and colliding with Harry Dunn’s motorcycle.

She was sentenced at the Old Bailey in London to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months. The mother-of-three was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Mr Dunn’s death strained diplomatic relations between the US and the UK when Sacoolas left the country, citing diplomatic immunity and forcing the 19-year-old’s family into a fight for justice.

Sacoolas, the wife of an intelligence officer, was not in court on Thursday and has only appeared via video link from the US.

Charlotte Charles, Mr Dunn's mother, had said she was “absolutely fuming” that the US government advised Sacoolas not to travel to the UK to face justice, making the sentence effectively unenforceable.

“Harry just disappeared out of my life that night, shattering my existence forever," she said outside the court on Thursday as she wept.

Harry Dunn's stepfather Bruce Charles and mother Charlotte Charles at the Old Bailey. Getty Images

“His passing haunts me every minute of every day and I’m not sure how I’m ever going to get over it.

“I made a promise to Harry in the hospital that we would get him justice and a mother never breaks a promise to her son.”

In her sentencing, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb paid tribute to Mr Dunn's family.

“There is no doubt that the calm and dignified persistence of these parents and family of that young man has led through three years of heartbreak and effort to your appearance before this court and acknowledge your guilt,” she told Sacoolas.

Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf by the US government, which enabled her to leave the UK 19 days after the incident.

In October, she appeared in court by video link from the US to plead guilty to causing Mr Dunn's death by careless driving.

Mr Dunn was killed when Sacoolas drove her Volvo on the wrong side of the road outside US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27, 2019.

Duncan Atkinson KC had told the court that Sacoolas was taking two of her children home from a barbecue at the airbase.

Mr Dunn had spent the afternoon with his best friend and was on his way home on his Kawasaki motorbike.

Sacoolas, having left the base, had driven for only for 26 seconds, travelling 350 metres on the wrong side of the road, when she crashed head on into Mr Dunn's motorbike.

During the sentencing hearing, Sacoolas wiped away tears as she attended remotely from her lawyer's office in Washington DC.

In mitigation, her lawyer Ben Cooper KC read a statement on her behalf in which she said she was "deeply sorry for the pain I have caused".

The judge said Mr Dunn's death was the "highest degree of harm" but added: "I bear in mind this was a short period of driving and you were not familiar with English roads.

"I accept you feel genuine remorse."

Updated: December 09, 2022, 4:22 AM
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