Lawyers acting on behalf of Harry Dunn’s alleged killer Anne Sacoolas have said she drove on the “wrong side of the road for 20 seconds” before the fatal crash.
Legal representatives for the 43-year-old issued a public statement on Thursday detailing her side of the story, in which they claim she was “otherwise driving cautiously and below the speed limit”.
According to her lawyers, Sacoolas “instinctively” began driving on the right hand side, and could not see Mr Dunn due to “the crest of a small hill”.
Reacting to the suspect’s statement and speaking on behalf of the 19-year-old’s family, their spokesman Radd Seiger told the PA news agency: “The parents have noted the statement issued this evening on behalf of Mrs Sacoolas.
“Their position is that these issues should not be aired in any form other than a court of law.
Anne Sacoolas (pictured) claimed diplomatic immunity following the collision in August 2019 that took the life of the 19-year-old
The family of Harry Dunn (pictured) have been told that his alleged killer is willing to discuss taking part in a virtual trial in a UK court
“Once again, they invite her to do the right thing and return to the UK to answer to the charges laid against her.”
It came as the Director of Public Prosecutions told 19-year-old Harry’s parents on Wednesday he was ‘actively considering’ a virtual trial for Anne Sacoolas, 43, in an ‘unprecedented legal scenario’.
Yesterday, sources close to the mother-of-three said she wished to speak to British authorities to find a path forward. But it is understood she has not yet been formally approached.
The teenage motorcyclist was killed in the crash outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August last year – a US military base where the suspect’s husband worked as an intelligence official.
The US authorities asserted that Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity and, according to her lawyers, “determined that it would be difficult for her and her family to remain in the small Croughton community”.
Mr Dunn’s alleged killer returned to the US on a commercial flight after the US Embassy “informed the Foreign Office of this decision and instructed Anne to return home”.
Sacoolas was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in December but an extradition request submitted by the Home Office was refused in January.
The US State Department have since said the decision to reject the request was “final”.
In a public statement, Sacoolas’s lawyers said: “Anne did everything she could to assist Harry. After the accident, she ran from her car and tried to help him.
“Anne then saw another motorist approach and flagged her down for more support.
“The other motorist immediately called for the emergency services and Anne made calls to alert the police from the nearby air force base.
“The base police arrived quickly and assisted Harry.
“Tragically, it took over 40 minutes for the ambulance to arrive and nearly two hours passed before Harry was admitted to the hospital.
“Anne did not leave the scene until she was instructed to do so by the UK authorities.”
Sacoolas’s legal representatives also made an on-the-record statement regarding her position on the prospect of a virtual trial.
They said: “We have been and remain willing to discuss a resolution, including the possibility of virtual proceedings, with the UK authorities.
“Anne has never tried to avoid being held accountable for the tragic accident and she would like nothing more than to find a path forward and to provide the family some measure of peace.”
Harry’s motorbike was hit by a car on the wrong side of the road outside RAF Croughton – a US intelligence base – in Northamptonshire last year.
Mrs Sacoolas, who is married to a US intelligence officer, fled the UK controversially claiming diplomatic immunity.
She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in her absence last December.
But Mr Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, told Mr Dunn’s parents Tim Dunn, 50, and Charlotte Charles, 45, that he believed Mrs Sacoolas did not have diplomatic immunity when she left the UK.
Mrs Sacoolas claimed she was immune from prosecution after her Volvo SUV collided head-on with 19-year-old Harry’s motorbike in August 2019.
The DPP’s assessment of the position puts him at odds with the stance taken by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who told the Commons last October that Mrs Sacoolas did have immunity.
File photo dated yesterday shows the family of Harry Dunn, mother Charlotte Charles (left) and father Tim Dunn (right) with their partners, arriving at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, where they met with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab
In December, three months after she flew home to Virginia with her family, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) charged Mrs Sacoolas with causing the teenager’s death by dangerous driving over the crash outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.
In response to the charge, Mrs Sacoolas’s US lawyer, Amy Jeffress, said her client would not ‘return voluntarily’ to the UK over what was described as a ‘terrible but unintentional accident’.
In January this year an extradition request submitted by the Home Office was rejected by the US State Department.
Last month the Dunn family were informed that Attorney General Suella Braverman QC was examining the possibility of a virtual trial or a trial in the absence of Mrs Sacoolas.
A letter sent by the CPS to the Dunns’ MP, Andrea Leadsom, this week described holding a virtual trial as ‘an unprecedented legal scenario’.
It added: ‘Before such a step could be even contemplated, a host of factors (both legal and diplomatic) would have to be considered.’
It is understood that Mrs Sacoolas has not yet been formally approached about the matter.
Following Wednesday’s meeting with Mr Hill, the Dunn family’s spokesman, Radd Seiger, said the family had been told that the US Government would only agree to a virtual trial if it was under US law – something he surmised would be a ‘show trial’.
Mr Seiger said the Dunn family would only accept a virtual trial if the suspect was tried under UK law.
He added: ‘Yesterday, Max Hill QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, shockingly told us that the US administration’s position remains that there are no circumstances in which Mrs Sacoolas would submit herself to the English legal jurisdiction.
‘It now appears, if what is being said is true, that Mrs Sacoolas herself holds a different position.
‘I would therefore urge the Attorney General to bypass the US administration and go straight to Mrs Sacoolas’s lawyers to make this possibility a reality.
‘There can be no further delay for the sake of these parents – they are suffering intolerable pain.’