Dunn family take ‘giant step’ toward justice in damages claim after depositions

The parents of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn have said they “stood up and spoke for him” after giving evidence under oath in a damages claim against their son’s alleged killer.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn gave legal testimony during their depositions on Thursday after flying out to Washington DC earlier this week.

Mr Dunn’s parents faced lawyers acting on behalf of suspect Anne Sacoolas, who left the UK after diplomatic immunity was asserted on her behalf following the 19-year-old’s death in August 2019.

Harry Dunn death
Harry Dunn was killed in a road crash in August 2019 (Family handout/PA)

Mrs Charles told the PA news agency her latest trip to the US had been “arduous and difficult” but added: “We stood up and spoke for him as he cannot speak for himself now.”

Sacoolas was charged with causing the teenager’s death by dangerous driving after her departure from the UK, but an extradition request was rejected by the US State Department in January last year.

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The 43-year-old will also be required to give legal testimony by the end of August as part of the civil claim.

Speaking after the her deposition, Mrs Charles said: “We are so glad that our depositions are out of the way now.

“We can’t go into the detail of what happened at all but we were required to come out to the USA to do the depositions in person and that is just what we have done.

“Although it has been an arduous day and a difficult trip, right smack in the middle of the pandemic, the reality is that it is easy for us to come to the States and for us to talk about our son Harry and the impact his loss has had on all of us.

“We are enduring life, not living it, but we will do everything in our power to get justice for our boy and for ourselves.

“He deserves that. We deserve that, and we will not stop until we have achieved justice in both the civil and criminal cases.”

The depositions are part of the “discovery” process in the Dunn family’s claim, in which correspondence and documentation relevant to the case will be handed over ahead of a trial at the end of the year.

The damages claim, brought against both Sacoolas and her husband Jonathan, has unearthed a great deal of previously unheard material, such as the State Department roles held by the couple at the time of the crash.

The Alexandria District Court in the US State of Virginia heard the pair’s work in intelligence was a “factor” in their departure from the UK – with the Sacoolases leaving for “security reasons”.

Mrs Charles added: “I really think Harry would have been proud of us today. We stood up and spoke for him as he cannot speak for himself now.

“The American people have been so wonderful and supportive since we have been out here this week and we are so grateful to them for all their support.

“But now that we have come to do what we had to do, we cannot wait to get back home to the safety of our home.”

Mr Dunn’s father said the depositions marked a “giant step” in their quest for justice in the civil claim.

He told PA: “I am really proud of Charlotte and myself for what we have achieved today.

“The build up to coming on this trip for the depositions has been so stressful for all of our family and I am really pleased we are through that now and can now look forward to getting back home.

“Harry was everything to me. I cannot bear to be without him. But I know I have to.

“He is not coming back but we can honour his life by doing what we are doing and he is going to leave a huge legacy behind him with everything our campaign has achieved.”

The civil claim is one of a number of legal processes the Dunn family have entered into in order to secure justice for their son.

Earlier this month, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the path was now clear for the UK to push for a form of “virtual trial or process” in the case.

Mr Dunn added: “This trip could not have gone any better and I feel we have taken another giant step towards getting justice in the civil claim.

“We know the path is now clear in the criminal case too and I want to appeal on behalf of my family to the authorities in both London and Washington to do everything within their power to help alleviate our suffering a little and speed up the process of justice in the criminal case.

“We are almost at two years since Harry died and the time has come for them all to do the right thing now.”

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