Harry Dunn: Anne Sacoolas admits causing crash death

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Watch: Harry Dunn's mother, Charlotte Charles, makes an emotional statement outside the Old Bailey

A US citizen has admitted responsibility for the death of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn in a case that caused a diplomatic row between the US and British governments.

Anne Sacoolas, 45, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey, via videolink, to causing his death by careless driving.

Mr Dunn, 19, died following a crash outside a US military base in Northamptonshire in August 2019.

His mother Charlotte Charles said she had now completed her promise to him.

Judge Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said Sacoolas, who was employed by a US intelligence agency, would be sentenced at the end of November.

"I direct that Mrs Sacoolas attends court in person to be sentenced," the judge added.

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Sacoolas was charged with causing death by dangerous driving but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) accepted her guilty plea to the lesser charge.

Death by careless driving carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment but a community punishment or suspended jail sentence is often given.

Mrs Charles said the family "didn't wish to separate her from her children, it's not their fault".

She said: "Getting to court and getting to where we are now has been the most monumental thing for me because I can talk to [Harry] now and tell him we've done it, promise complete.

"I feel I can breathe easier. I don't have that guilt on my shoulders of not having done it yet."

His father Tim Dunn said: "Hopefully we've given hope to other families that they can do the same as us and get justice and believe and fight because it will happen in the end, it will happen."

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Harry Dunn died following a collision outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in 2019

The former head of extradition at the CPS, Nick Vamos, said Sacoolas appearing via videolink from the US was "a way of circumventing extradition".

He said it did "undermine the power of the court" and he hoped it would not set a precedent for other cases.

Coronavirus legislation permits even the most important court sessions to be held virtually.

Asked why the CPS decided to conduct the case remotely, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said: "We apply the law that is in force at the time that the hearing takes place."

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Anne Sacoolas, pictured here in 2020, was told by the judge she should appear in court for her sentencing

The guilty plea brings a legal resolution to the Dunn family after a three-year wait for justice.

On 27 August 2019, Sacoolas turned out of RAF Croughton and drove 350 metres (1,148ft) on the wrong side of the road for over 20 seconds.

She hit Mr Dunn who was driving on his motorbike on the correct side of the road.

Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf by the US administration following the accident. She left the UK 19 days later.

Mr Dunn's family travelled to the US in October 2019 to lobby President Trump.

The CPS made the decision to charge Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving in December 2019.

But an extradition request was rejected by the US government a month later, causing a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Following a period of transatlantic negotiations and a change in the law, it was agreed Saccolas could take part in the proceedings remotely from Washington.

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