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Harry Dunn’s parents lose High Court battle with Foreign Office

HARRY DUNN’S parents lost their High Court battle today against the Foreign Office over whether their son’s alleged killer had diplomatic immunity.

Mr Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car being driven on the wrong side of the road by US citizen Anne Sacoolas outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.

Ms Sacoolas, whose husband Jonathan Sacoolas worked as a technical assistant at the base, left the country a few weeks later after the US said she was entitled to diplomatic immunity.

The 43-year-old was ultimately charged last December with causing death by dangerous driving, but an extradition request was rejected by the US State Department in January – a decision it later described as “final.”

Mr Dunn’s parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn claimed the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) wrongly decided that Ms Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity and unlawfully obstructed Northamptonshire Police’s investigation into their son’s death by keeping the force “in the dark.”

But in a High Court judgement today, Lord Justice Flaux and Mr Justice Saini said: “Our conclusion is that Ms Sacoolas enjoyed immunity from UK criminal jurisdiction at the time of Harry’s death.”

The judges found that Ms Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity “on arrival in the UK” under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) which had not been “expressly waived.”

“We do not come to this conclusion with any enthusiasm for the result, but it is compelled by the operation of the VCDR,” they said.

The judges also rejected Ms Charles and Mr Dunn’s claim that the FCDO “usurped” Northamptonshire Police’s investigation into their son’s death, finding officials “sought to assist rather than obstruct Northamptonshire Police in their investigation.”

Speaking after the ruling, Ms Charles said: “The government and Ms Sacoolas need to understand that this court ruling is just a blip along the way.

“I promised my boy I would get him justice and that is just what we are going to do. No-one is going to stand in our way.

“It’s obviously disappointing that this court did not find in our favour but we are more focused now than ever on fulfilling our promise.”

Mr Dunn said: “It all seems so cruel and needless and I am just as angry today as I ever have been but so determined to see it all through until we have justice.”

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