Sacoolas avoids jail time in death of UK teen
STORY: JUDGE BOBBIE CHEEMA-GRUBB: “...for the offence of causing the death of Harry Dunn by your careless driving..."
Anne Sacoolas, a U.S. government employee, was given an eight-month jail term suspended for 12 months by a London court on Thursday... for causing the death of 19-year-old Harry Dunn when she drove on the wrong side of the road in England in 2019.
It means she would only face prison if she commits another crime in Britain in the next year.
Sacoolas, the wife of a U.S. intelligence officer who was stationed in the UK at the time, fled the country after the crash, blamed her departure on pressure from the U.S. government.
She pleaded guilty by video link in October… and also appeared remotely on Thursday.
Sacoolas’ lawyers told the court their client had been advised not to attend in person.
JUDGE BOBBIE CHEEMA-GRUBB: “The reasons were that for the first time in these criminal proceedings, a barrier to your attendance emanating from the American government was relied on in support of the application.”
Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, welcomed the sentence but said not showing up was cowardly.
“I think it's despicable that she didn't come over on the judges orders and yeah -- huge, huge coward. [FLASH] We weren't cowards, we didn't back away from the U.S. government or the UK government in the beginning. We didn't back down because we have values. Maybe she doesn't."
Dunn was riding his motorcycle near an air force base used by the U.S. military in the English county of Northamptonshire when he was hit by a car driven on the wrong side of the road by Sacoolas.
Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution after the crash, and the United States refused to extradite her.
The incident caused a spat between London and Washington and even lead to a meeting with then-U.S. President Donald Trump.
The British government backed calls for Sacoolas to be prosecuted.
For the family, the sentencing is the culmination of three years of fighting for justice.
CHARLOTTE CHARLES: “Job done. Promise complete - properly, properly complete now. Anne Sacoolas has a criminal record for the rest of her life...”
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