Harry Dunn: Family's three-year fight to get answers and justice for son

Harry Dunn's case has been examined by foreign secretaries, US presidents and prime ministers.
Credit: ITV News Anglia/PA

Since his death in August 2019, it has been a long three-year battle for justice for the family of Harry Dunn.

His parents, friends and family have campaigned tirelessly for their day in court - a campaign which came to fruition at the Old Bailey on Thursday when Anne Sacoolas, 45, pleaded guilty to causing his death by careless driving.

Sacoolas, the wife of a US diplomat at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, had originally been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, which she had denied.

The resolution brings to an end a long campaign for justice for Mr Dunn's family.

In three years the case has been championed by multiple foreign secretaries, two prime ministers and two presidents of the United States.

ITV News Anglia takes a look back at the timeline of the case.


27 August: Motorcyclist Harry Dunn collides with a Volvo outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. He is taken to the John Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford but is pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

28 August: Northamptonshire Police interview 42-year-old suspect Anne Sacoolas in connection with the crash.

The road outside RAF Croughton, where Harry Dunn died after his motorbike was hit by a car. Credit: PA

30 August: A briefing note copied to the private office of the then foreign secretary Dominic Raab, reveals the concern for the potential for “very unpalatable headlines”.

13 September: A request to waive diplomatic immunity claimed by Sacoolas is formally rejected by the US.

14 September: A senior Foreign Office official sends a text message to their US counterpart saying: “I think that now the decision has been taken not to waive, there’s not much mileage in us asking you to keep the family here. It’s obviously not us approving of their departure but I think you should feel able to put them on the next flight out”

15 September: Anne Sacoolas leaves the UK on a United States Air Force plane, but the Dunn family are not informed of her departure until three weeks later.

Northamptonshire Police are also not told she has left the country.

Donald Trump met Harry Dunn's parents and later tried to choreograph a meeting with Anne Sacoolas. Credit: PA

4 October: Harry’s parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn call on US President Donald Trump to intervene and waive immunity for Sacoolas.

5 October: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urges US ambassador Woody Johnson to waive immunity for Sacoolas.

6 October: Police write to the US embassy in London to demand immunity is waived.

7 October: Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the US should “reconsider its position” on the immunity given to Sacoolas.

9 October: Mrs Charles and Mr Dunn attend a meeting with the foreign secretary which leaves them “angry and frustrated” and feeling as though it was a “publicity stunt”.

The Prime Minister speaks to Mr Trump personally to ask him to reconsider the US’s position.

12 October: Sacoolas breaks her silence and issues a statement through her lawyer, saying the crash left her “devastated”.

Charlotte Charles accused Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab a "publicity stunt" after their meeting. Credit: PA

14 October: Mr Dunn’s family hold a press conference in New York after taking their fight for justice to the US.

15 October: The White House calls an “urgent” meeting with Mr Dunn’s family and they have talks with Mr Trump.

Mrs Charles and Mr Dunn refuse to meet Sacoolas, who was in the room next door as they met Mr Trump.

31 October: Northamptonshire Police confirm they had interviewed the suspect in the case in the US and were passing the file of evidence to the CPS.

A motorbike convoy makes its way through the village of Charlton as they follow Harry Dunn's last ride. Credit: PA

17 November: A convoy of motorbikes rides the route of Harry Dunn's final ride as a tribute to him.

20 December: The CPS charges Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving.


10 January: The Home Office submits an extradition request for Sacoolas.

23 January: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally rejects the extradition request for Sacoolas.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a visit to Downing Street. Credit: PA

24 January: The Home Office says the refusal of the extradition request amounts to a “denial of justice”.

The foreign secretary said the UK “would have acted differently if this had been a UK diplomat serving in the US”.

11 May: The family receive an email from Northamptonshire Police saying Sacoolas is “wanted internationally” and reports of an Interpol notice being issued for the suspect follow.

12 May: The US State Department says the decision not to extradite Sacoolas is “final” after Interpol notice claims.

20 May: Mr Dunn’s mother calls for Mr Raab’s resignation.

22 July: Mr Raab announces the “anomaly” which allowed Sacoolas to claim diplomatic immunity following the road crash that killed Mr Dunn has been amended.

29 July 2020: Mr Dunn's family and friends gather at Portland Bill at Weymouth in Dorset, to scatter his ashes in his favourite place, a month before the anniversary of his death.

Harry Dunn's ashes were scattered at Portland Bill in Weymouth, Dorset - the teenager's favourite place. Credit: PA

25 August: The Lord Chancellor says Attorney General Suella Braverman is considering the possibility of trying Sacoolas virtually or in her absence.

9 September: Mr Dunn’s parents file a civil claim against Sacoolas in the US.

10 September: Sacoolas’s legal representatives admit the suspect had been driving on the wrong side of the road for 20 seconds prior to the crash.

24 November: Mr Dunn’s parents lose their High Court battle with the Foreign Office over the diplomatic immunity asserted on behalf of Sacoolas.

Charlotte Charles, left, and Tim Dunn, right, address the media after losing their High Court case against the Foreign Office. Credit: PA


24 January: The Foreign Office apologises after “unprofessional and unacceptable language” was used by officials in internal emails about Mr Dunn’s bereaved family.

28 January: New US President Joe Biden’s administration maintains the position that the decision not to extradite Sacoolas is “final”.

There were hopes that the new administration of Joe Biden would lead to progress on the case. Credit: PA

4 February: The Alexandria District Court in Virginia hears Sacoolas and her husband Jonathan’s work in intelligence was a “factor” in their departure from the UK after the road crash.

9 March: Sacoolas’s lawyer says the suspect is willing to complete community service.

12 June: Mr Raab says the UK Government would be seeking a “virtual trial or process” for Sacoolas.

2 July: Mr Dunn’s parents give evidence under oath in their “depositions” as part of the civil claim for damages filed in the US.

21 September: Mr Dunn’s parents and Sacoolas reach a “resolution” in the civil claim for damages filed in the US - something Charlotte Charles describes as an "enormous relief".

Then-Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says it is "absolutely not the end" of the fight to get Sacoolas to face justice in the UK, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson says US President Joe Biden has been "personally trying to move things along".

26 October: Liz Truss insists she is "pushing" the United States to ensure justice is delivered.

13 December: The Crown Prosecution Service announces that Sacoolas will face Westminster Magistrates' Court on 18 January, charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

14 January: The court hearing is cancelled, to enable "ongoing discussions" with the Crown Prosecution Service to continue.

22 March: Mr Dunn's mother maintains she has "a lot of faith in the CPS that justice will be done".

A band of bikers gathered outside the US Embassy in London for a "rev-off" to mark the third anniversary of Harry Dunn's death. Credit: PA

27 August: Mr Dunn's family say they "miss him terribly" as they mark the third anniversary of his death.

A band of bikers hold a rev-off and say prayers outside the US embassy in London in his memory.

29 September: Sacoolas appears at Westminster Magistrates' Court via video-link from the US, charged with causing Mr Dunn's death by dangerous driving.

During the six-minute hearing she speaks only to confirm her name and date of birth, and is ordered to appear at the Old Bailey in October.

20 October: Sacoolas denies causing death by dangerous driving but she pleads guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving at the Old Bailey.

8 December: Sacoolas appeared before a High Court judge at the Old Bailey, where she was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Harry Dunn's parents and their partners emerge from Westminster Magistrates' Court after Anne Sacoolas's first UK court appearance. Credit: PA

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