American Driver Admits Role in UK Teen's Death

Anne Sacoolas pleads guilty from the US, is unlikely to spend any time behind bars
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2022 12:45 PM CDT
3 Years Later, Mom's Promise to Harry Dunn Is 'Complete'
The mother of Harry Dunn, Charlotte Charles, left, and his stepfather, Bruce Charles, arrive at the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US diplomat, has admitted to causing the death of teen motorcyclist Harry Dunn while driving on the wrong side of the road in the UK in 2019. Dunn's parents fought to have Sacoolas returned to the UK to face justice after she fled to the US and claimed diplomatic immunity. A settlement was previously reached in a civil lawsuit brought by the parents, but Dunn's mother said at the time she had yet to fulfill a promise to her son to get justice. Now "we've done it, promise complete," Charlotte Charles says, per the BBC.

Allowed to appear Thursday in a UK court via video link from the US, the 45-year-old Sacoolas admitted causing Dunn's death by careless driving, but denied the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving. Prosecutors accepted the deal after consulting with Dunn's family, the Guardian reports. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, though Justice Bobbie Cheema-Grubb said Sacoolas could avoid prison time. She added that her "personal attendance and voluntary surrender" at a sentencing hearing in late November would help in showing "genuine remorse."

However, the judge acknowledged "any sentence I pass is unlikely to be enforceable" while Sacoolas is outside the UK. Charles accepts that Sacoolas is unlikely to return to face her sentence. But the family "didn't wish to separate her from her children," who have "always been in the forefront of our mind," she says, per the BBC. She adds "some of them were in the car with her that night" and must've suffered "nightmares" since. "Hopefully we've given hope to other families that they can do the same as us and get justice," adds father Tim Dunn, per the BBC. (More Harry Dunn stories.)

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