Home » American Woman Pleads Guilty in Death of British Teenager

American Woman Pleads Guilty in Death of British Teenager

by Mahmmod Shar

Anne Sacoolas pleaded guilty on Thursday to causing the death of Harry Dunn, a 19-year-old British motorcyclist, in 2019, when she was a State Department employee in England.

By Amanda Holpuch

Anne Sacoolas, an American who fled Britain in 2019 after her car fatally struck a 19-year-old British motorcyclist in central England, pleaded guilty on Thursday to causing the death of the teenager, Harry Dunn, by careless driving, British prosecutors said.

The British Crown Prosecution Service had previously charged Ms. Sacoolas, 45, with causing death by dangerous driving in December 2019, but she pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in a hearing in London on Thursday at the central criminal court of England and Wales. She appeared at the hearing in a video call.

The police said that Ms. Sacoolas, a State Department employee, was driving on the wrong side of the road near the village of Croughton, in central England, on Aug. 27, 2019, when her car struck Mr. Dunn, who was riding a motorcycle on the correct side of the road. Mr. Dunn died at a hospital shortly after.

acoolasDunn260922.jpg© ES Composite

Ms. Sacoolas’s husband was working for the U.S. government at a British military base, R.A.F. Croughton, at the time. She fled Britain under diplomatic immunity weeks after the crash, causing tensions between Britain and the United States.

The United States further inflamed those tensions in January 2020 when it turned down Britain’s request that it extradite Ms. Sacoolas.

Early reports of the crash identified Ms. Sacoolas as the wife of a U.S. diplomat, but at a hearing in February 2021, a lawyer for Ms. Sacoolas, John McGavin, said she was working for an intelligence agency at the time of the crash and later specified that she was a State Department employee. Her current employment status was not clear.

According to a representative of the State Department, the decision to deny the extradition request was final. The official stated, “Any consideration related to a criminal case in the UK is a matter between the UK Crown Prosecution Service and Ms. Sacoolas and her counsel.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, the parents of Mr. Dunn, traveled to the White House in October 2019 to meet with President Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump shocked them by telling them that Ms. Sacoolas was in a nearby room. The parents of Mr. Dunn declined to speak with her.

In a statement on Thursday, Ms. Charles expressed her “relief” at the guilty plea.

We’ll need some time to process everything, but I promised Harry the night he passed away that we’d bring him justice, and that’s what today has been all about, she said. Promise carried out.

The judge, Bobbie Cheema-Grubb, instructed Ms. Sacoolas to appear in court on Thursday and announced that she would be sentenced at the end of November, according to the BBC. The maximum sentence for reckless driving-related fatalities is five years in prison.

Requests for comment from Ms. Sacoolas’ attorneys were not immediately fulfilled.

In the Virginia U.S. District Court, Ms. Sacoolas was also sued by Mr. Dunn’s family. Radd Seiger, a spokesman for Mr. Dunn’s family, stated in September 2021 that they had settled the lawsuit with Ms. Sacoolas, but he would not provide any additional information.


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