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Anne Sacoolas: US citizen receives suspended sentence for causing death of British teenager Harry Dunn




London
CNN

American citizen Anne Sacoolas was sentenced to 8 months probation, 12 months suspended prison, at the Old Bailey in London for causing the death of British teenager Harry Dunn in a serious traffic collision in August of 2019, which means she won’t have to go to jail.

chocolate pleaded guilty in October to cause death by careless driving, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

She admitted to driving in the opposite direction when she hit a 19-year-old man on a motorbike outside a US military base in Britain, where her husband worked as an American diplomat.

Harry Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, who has spent more than three years campaigning for justice for her son, told the court the family had determined that his death “would not be in vain.”

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

With tears in his eyes, Charles added: “There’s an intense feeling of emptiness in my stomach without Harry around. His passing haunts me every minute of every day and I’m not sure how I’m going to get through it.”

Sacoolas wiped away tears as Charles detailed the impact her son’s death had on the family.

“Unfortunately, Harry’s twin Niall continues to be severely affected, and he remains a cause for concern,” Charles added. “Not only did I lose a son when Harry died, I also lost Niall. He is a shell of himself. I’m afraid one day he’ll do something terrible and I’ll lose him forever too.”

The court on Thursday heard some heartbreaking details about the moments after the crash.

Outlining the incident, prosecutors said Sacoolas drove 350 meters for 26 seconds on the left side of the road after turning from the airbase before colliding with Dunn, who was “thrown in front” of his car. her and fell on top, while his motorcycle caught fire.

The prosecutor then described how the severely injured Dunn repeatedly told a first responder “don’t let me die.”

Sacoolas was not present in person for sentencing, although Supreme Court judge Justice Cheema-Grubb appealed for Sacoolas to return to the UK to face a face-to-face sentence. She appeared via a video link after the court allowed her to do so.

During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Cheema-Grubb said she had been told the “employer of the United States Government” of Sacoolas that her appearance in the UK court would result in a “significant interest”. US narrative is at risk” and according to the documents, Sacoolas is “not free to release further information.”

Speaking in court after the hearing, Charles said she thought it was “despicable” that Sacoolas did not attend the hearing in person.

Sacoolas has claimed diplomatic immunity on her behalf and could leave the UK a few weeks after the crash. The UK’s attempt to extradite Sacoolas to face a charge of death by dangerous driving has been rejected by US authorities and the case has caused some tension between the two countries.

After the sentencing, Charles said she found the US government’s handling of the case “disgusting”.

Speaking to Sacoolas on Thursday, the judge said it was through the “respectable perseverance” of Dunn’s parents and family that “resulted in, after three years of suffering and effort, for you to appear in court. and have the opportunity for you to admit your guilt of a crime.

Sacoolas’ attorney, Ben Cooper, told the court that “she did not claim diplomatic immunity” and that she did not play “any part” in the extradition process. According to Cooper, the decision to refuse extradition was made by the US government.

He read a statement on behalf of Sacoolas, saying she was “deeply sorry for the pain I’ve caused” and that “not a day goes by” that her mind doesn’t go to Harry Dunn.

Cooper added that Sacoolas’ family was forced to relocate following the death of Harry Dunn after she received death threats via email and phone.

Charles said she was pleased to have fulfilled her promise to her son. “Anne Sacoolas has a criminal record for the rest of her life. It’s something she never thought she would see, something the US government never thought they would see,” she told reporters, adding that she and her family don’t care. to the sentence the judge will pronounce. “For us, it’s all about doing the right thing, bypassing the UK justice system.”

Looking up at the sky, she said, “Harry, we made it. Good. Good.”

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