On August 27, 2019, Harry Dunn, a British male in his late teens, was killed in a car accident. Riding his motorcycle near the exit to RAF Croughton in Croughton, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom, he was hit by a car coming from the wrong way and driving on the wrong side of the road.
Anne Sacoolas, a former American spy and the wife of a CIA employee who was working out of the USAF listening post at RAF Croughton, was the driver. Sacoolas revealed to police that she was driving on the wrong side of the road, and the officers confirmed their suspicions based on surveillance footage. The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, which houses the hospital’s Major Trauma Centre, pronounced Dunn dead.
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According to CNN’s audio link to the court proceedings, Anne Sacoolas, the American lady accused of killing British motorcyclist Harry Dunn, 19, in a traffic collision close to a US military base, pled guilty to his death on Thursday.
Following the deadly traffic accident in August 2019 near RAF Croughton, a US military base in England where her husband served as a US diplomat, Sacoolas was able to leave the UK after having diplomatic immunity claimed on her behalf. US officials rejected Britain’s request to extradite Sacoolas to face accusations of causing death through unsafe driving, and the episode has caused some strain between the two nations.
Sacoolas, who is currently in the United States, appeared virtually on Thursday at the Old Bailey court in London via video link. The 45-year-old admitted to recklessly causing a death while driving. UK prosecutors announced they would not pursue the accusation of hazardous driving against her after she entered a not-guilty plea to the less serious charge of death by driving.
Sacoolas has acknowledged that he was driving on the wrong side of the road when the crash occurred. The maximum sentence for negligent driving that results in death is five years in prison. Sacoolas is now a “convicted offender,” according to High Court judge Mrs. Justice Cheema-Grubb, who presided over the proceedings, and she was given the order to be banned from driving in the UK.
Cheema-Grubb confessed to the court that “any sentence I pass is likely to be unenforceable while the defendant remains outside the United Kingdom” despite saying she had not yet decided what punishment to impose on Sacoolas. Although Cheema-Grubb stated that she cannot compel Sacoolas to return to the UK for sentencing, she made another appeal for her to do so.
The week of November 28 is the scheduled sentencing date. In honor of the 19-year-old, members of Dunn’s family wore green ties and scarves to court on Thursday. After witnessing Sacoolas accept her guilt, they talked about how “relieved” they were.
The family had never seen Sacoolas appear in court before. Charlotte Charles, Dunn’s mother, told the UK’s PA Media news agency that there was still some uncertainty as they approached court: “Is she going to appear?” Because they “didn’t want to take her from her children,” Sacoolas’ family accepted her guilty plea to the less serious charge of causing death by negligent driving, according to Charles.