UK family settles suit with US diplomat′s wife over dead teen | News | DW | 21.09.2021

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UK family settles suit with US diplomat's wife over dead teen

The family of Harry Dunn, who was killed in a crash involving the wife of a US diplomat, says a US civil suit has been settled, but the criminal case is still going.

Mother of killed motorcyclist Harry Dunn at 2019 demonstration against Trump's visit to London

Dunn's family has called for justice over their son's death

The parents of 19-year-old British motorcyclist Harry Dunn said Tuesday that they have resolved a civil lawsuit with their son's accused killer.  

Dunn was killed while riding his motorcycle near a US military base in central England in August 2019. He reportedly crashed into a car which was driving on the wrong side of the road.

The driver of the vehicle, Anne Sacoolas, was the wife of a US intelligence officer working at the nearby military base. She then fled the UK after the US government invoked diplomatic immunity.  

The Dunn family had filed the lawsuit in the US state of Virginia.

Lawyer tight-lipped about settlement

A spokesperson for Dunn's parents said an agreement had been "reached successfully between the parties." He did not provide any details about the deal.

Members of the Dunn family, spokesperson Radd Seiger and solicitor Mark Stephens outside the Justice Ministry in London

Dunn family spokesperson Radd Seiger called the civil settlement a "real milestone"

"It is never easy mounting a legal battle for justice abroad, let alone in the USA, but the family's courage and determination to see this through has been incredible," Dunn family spokesperson Radd Seiger said.    

Sacoolas refuses to go back to UK

Although the civil claim against Sacoolas has been resolved, the UK government has filed criminal charges against her.  

"The family feel they can now turn their attention to the criminal case and the long-awaited inquest into Harry's death, which will follow the criminal case," Seiger said.

An attorney representing Sacoolas said in 2020 that she will not return to the UK to face jail "for a terrible and unintentional accident."  Dunn's mother has said Sacoolas must face the UK justice system.

Virtual trial incoming?

The case has caused a diplomatic rift between the US and UK, as American officials have refused to extradite Sacoolas. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss reportedly mentioned the case during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday.   

President Joe Biden signaled that he would be in favor of a virtual trial for Sacoolas. 

Former President Donald Trump invited Dunn's family to the White House in October 2019, where he reportedly promised them financial compensation. Dunn's parents refused the offer. 

wd/dj (AP, AFP, Reuters) 

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