It’s inhuman! Harry Dunn’s family lawyer hits out after ‘diplomat’ Anne Sacoolas who killed him in crash offers only to pay for his funeral
- Lawyers for Anne Sacoolas made the offer after a claim for damages from family
- Calls made for case to be dismissed as claimed family ‘did not suffer distress’
- Mrs Sacoolas faces a charge of causing Harry’s death by dangerous driving
The American driver who allegedly killed Harry Dunn has said the most she is willing to pay out in compensation is to cover his funeral expenses.
Lawyers for Anne Sacoolas, the diplomat’s wife who fled Britain after the fatal car crash, made the offer in US court documents after a claim for damages filed by Harry’s family.
Mrs Sacoolas’s insurers, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), also called for the case to be dismissed completely because Harry’s relatives did not suffer any ‘harm or recognisable psychiatric distress’.
After a judge in Virginia threw out that application Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger lashed out at the insurers. ‘The USAA unforgivably are seeking with this language to belittle or minimise the terrible suffering the parents and Niall, Harry’s twin, are going through,’ he said.
Mrs Sacoolas’s insurers, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), also called for the case to be dismissed completely because Harry’s relatives did not suffer any ‘harm or recognisable psychiatric distress’
Mrs Sacoolas (pictured) faces a charge of causing death by dangerous driving. Her husband Jonathan was reportedly working for US intelligence at the RAF base and she claimed diplomatic immunity
‘You do not need to be a lawyer to understand how bad things are for them, you just need to be a human being.’
Harry’s family went to court in Virginia because Mrs Sacoolas, 43, has refused to return to the UK to face justice after Harry was killed when his motorbike was in a crash with a car near RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, in 2019.
Mrs Sacoolas faces a charge of causing death by dangerous driving. Her husband Jonathan was reportedly working for US intelligence at the RAF base and she claimed diplomatic immunity – with some reports claiming she too is a spy. In seeking to dismiss the Dunn family’s claim, lawyer John McGavin argued Mrs Sacoolas did not have the ‘intent’ to upset Harry’s family despite fleeing days after the smash with Harry, 19.
Mr McGavin wrote that compensation must be ‘limited to funeral expenses’, adding there was ‘no plausible claim for dependency damages’. Such damages are paid when family members were dependent on the deceased.
The lawyer said the family should not be reimbursed for money Harry would have earned because he did not ‘contribute to household expenses’. Mr McGavin went on: ‘There must be factual allegations to plausibly demonstrate [Mrs Sacoolas’s] conduct was taken with the intent to cause physical harm or psychiatric injury. There are no such allegations in the complaint.
‘Further, there are no factual allegations to demonstrate (Harry’s mother) Charlotte Charles, (father) Tim Dunn or Niall Dunn suffered physical harm or recognisable psychiatric distress.’
Family advisor Radd Seiger (centre) with Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, whose son Harry was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car being driven on the wrong side of the road by American Anne Sacoolas
But Mr Seiger said: ‘Harry’s parents only brought these proceedings as a last resort in the face of the ongoing denial of justice.
‘As we have all seen, the conduct of the USAA has been truly appalling. Instead of seeking to engage with Harry’s parents to attempt to resolve the dispute amicably, their first move was to inflame the situation by attempting to dismiss the claim altogether.’
He added: ‘The parents and Niall on the other hand will continue to conduct themselves with dignity and will… present their case to the jury at the trial in due course.
‘If the USAA’s intention is to compound the parents’ misery and suffering, stress and anxiety in their conduct of the litigation they could not have done a better job if they had tried.’
Mrs Sacoolas will appear before Judge Thomas Ellis next month when he will decide whether other parts of the case will be dismissed.
During the last hearing Mr McGavin said his client accepted ‘full responsibility’, to which Judge Ellis responded: ‘Accepting full responsibility doesn’t mean you run away, it means you stay there and face it.’
The USAA declined to comment.