Screengrab from Sky News of US citizen Anne Sacoolas (right) leaving after appearing at the Old Bailey by videolink from Washington DC.
Harry Dunn’s killer only offered a “have a nice day” as she refused to answer a journalist’s questions after she was finally sentenced for the 19-year-old’s death.
The late teenager’s family spent more than three years campaigning for US citizen Anne Sacoolas to face a UK court – a fight that saw his parents change law.
His killer, described by her own lawyer as an employee of the US State Department, was flown out of the UK on the orders of her country’s government, after she collided with Dunn’s motorbike while driving on the wrong side of the road in Northamptonshire in August 2019.
Diplomatic immunity was asserted on her behalf by Donald Trump’s administration, and she was able to leave the country 19 days after the crash.
But after a relentless campaign, Sacoolas, 45, appeared before a High Court judge at the Old Bailey via video link from the US on Thursday. She was spared jail as she was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Following the verdict, Sacoolas was confronted in Washington DC by James Matthews of Sky News.
Matthews approached Sacoolas after her sentencing and asked her: “What words do you have for Harry Dunn’s family?” She replied: “Have a nice day.”
As the reporter attempted to ask further questions, Sacoolas and her team tried to prevent the correspondent from joining them in their lift. Sacoolas did not answer any of the inquiries.
— James Matthews (@jamesmatthewsky) December 8, 2022
Earlier, Sacoolas wiped away tears as she attended her sentencing from her lawyer’s office. She had been advised by her government not to attend in person.
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”.
“My tragic mistake led to the loss of Harry and I live with this regret every single day,” the statement said.
“There is not a day that goes by that Harry isn’t on my mind and I am deeply sorry for the pain that I have caused.”
After immunity was asserted, the Dunn family were told by Northamptonshire Police that there was “less than 1% chance” of somebody being held accountable for the crash outside US military base RAF Croughton.
But after a high-profile media campaign in the US, and the closing of a loophole which enabled Trump’s government to assert immunity on behalf of Sacoolas, they were offered the opportunity to have their son’s killer stand trial remotely.
The family of Harry Dunn (left) after Anne Sacoolas, and the 19-year-old (right).
Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, was able to speak in court before the defendant was sentenced, where she fought back tears to say: “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.”
Reflecting on the end of the family’s campaign, Charles told reporters: “Job done, promise complete. Properly, properly complete now.
“Anne Sacoolas now has a criminal record. Yep, Harry, we’ve done it.
“We would have been happy with anything – for us, it was just about doing the right thing.”