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Harry Dunn’s mother says she did not want to separate Sacoolas from her children

The Dunn family said they accepted the guilty plea to causing death by careless driving.

20 October 2022

The mother of Harry Dunn has said her family have accepted their son’s killer’s guilty plea to causing death by careless driving because they “didn’t wish to separate her from her children”.

Charlotte Charles told the PA news agency it was important that Anne Sacoolas “did what you and I would have to do” when facing the UK justice system, saying they had to “rely” on the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to carry out “whatever process they felt was suitable”.

Asked if she was happy the CPS had accepted the plea to the lesser offence of causing death by careless driving, Mrs Charles said: “Yes, absolutely.

“Before we knew she’d left the country, from day one, alongside fulfilling that promise to Harry, we wanted to make sure that she did do what you and I would have to do.

“Immediately, we said that we didn’t wish to separate her from her children. It’s not their fault. Some of them were in the car with her that night.

“I can’t even begin to imagine what nightmares they’ve had since then, because from the bits and pieces we do know, it was horrific.

“So with it being a remote process, we were more than happy with that, for their sake. They’ve always been in the forefront of our mind.

“When you’re a mum and you know that you always want to be there to protect your children, her children are still important.

“So we just had to put our faith in our justice system, and we always did have faith in our justice system. And we had to rely on them to carry out whatever process they felt was suitable.

“We’ve never put any investment of thought or effort or any of our personal time into worrying about that. We’re just happy with accountability.”

Now the Dunn family have seen Sacoolas plead guilty in a UK criminal court, Mrs Charles said a promise she made to her son on the night he died that they would seek justice for him had been fulfilled.

Harry Dunn death
Harry Dunn was killed outside RAF Croughton in August 2019 (Family handout/PA)

Becoming emotional when recalling the night he died, she told PA: “That night was and will always be the worst ever of our lives.

“I had no idea of what laid ahead, I had no idea that it was going to be this hard, but making that promise not only to him directly, hoping wherever he was at that point…”

Mrs Charles took a moment to compose herself, before adding: “I’ve never broken a promise to either of my boys, and I damn well was not going to start when I found out that it was not going to be as easy as I would have assumed it should have been.

“Getting to court and getting to where we are now has been the most monumental thing for me because I can talk to him now and tell him we’ve done it. Promise complete.

“I feel I can breathe easier. I don’t have that guilt on my shoulders of not having done it yet.

“I’ve gone from not being able to feel proud because it hadn’t yet been done, to now where I can say I now do feel proud.

“Most of all I feel proud of Harry because, without the values he had when he was with us, I’m not sure if we would have been as strong as what we are to get the job done.”

Mr Dunn’s father Tim said: “I’m a bit different from Charlotte because I speak to Harry every day.

Harry Dunn death
Tim Dunn outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court (James Manning/PA)

“I go up to the crash site quite a lot – I went there a couple of days ago to strim and put some daffodils in ready for the spring.

“I speak to him every morning. I’ve got a photo – well, it’s not actually, it’s a drawing that a friend of mine had done – at the bottom of the stairs, of one of my favourite photos of me and Harry at the football.

“So I say to him every morning, ‘hello’, and ask him if he’s all right – it’s just what I do.

“That night was horrific. It was the worst night ever.

“I have regrets. So, so bad – because at the time, at the crash, it never entered my head when I was at the scene and he was speaking – he was in a mess, don’t get me wrong – but he was talking and I didn’t think he was going to die.

“I really, really didn’t.

“I regret, knowing now that he did die, that I didn’t do more.

“I just beat myself up because I didn’t go up to him up close, I only stood away and spoke to him.

“I wish I’d have gone and held Harry’s hand or something – I don’t know if it would have made any difference.”

Asked what message he would have for his son now, Mr Dunn said: “I would say to him, ‘hopefully we’ve done you proud’.

“I miss him like mad. I miss him so much.

“But hopefully we’ve given hope to other families that they can do the same as us and get justice and believe and fight because it will happen in the end, it will happen.”

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