Family in diplomatic immunity row say Raab meeting felt like ‘publicity stunt’
9 October 2019, 19:44 | Updated: 9 October 2019, 19:46
Harry Dunn’s mother said she felt ‘let down’ by both the UK and US governments.
The family of Harry Dunn have said a meeting with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab over the death of their son felt like a “publicity stunt” – as they confirmed they were launching civil action against the suspect in the case.
Harry, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car on August 27.
The suspect, 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas, reportedly married to a US intelligence official, was granted diplomatic immunity following the crash.
The car was thought to have been driving on the wrong side of the road after leaving RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire – a military base used by the US Air Force.
Mr Raab met Harry’s mother, Charlotte Charles, and father, Tim Dunn, on Wednesday afternoon after having talks with US Ambassador Woody Johnson on Tuesday.
Speaking after the meeting, Harry’s mother told reporters she felt “let down by both governments”.
Meanwhile, the family’s lawyer and spokesman Radd Seiger said Mr Raab had told them that prime minister Boris Johnson was intending to speak with US president Donald Trump.
“He [Mr Raab] said that could possibly be happening this evening and we welcome that, obviously,” Mr Seiger said.
Mr Seiger also invited Mr Trump to have a conversation with the family about the issue.
“If meeting with President Trump would help us get a step closer to seek justice for Harry, to get justice for that boy who died that night needlessly, one of the most wonderful kids in our community, if that’s what it takes then I will extend an invitation now to President Trump,” Mr Seiger said.
“Meet us. Let’s have a chat. Nobody wants to litigate.”
Ms Charles told reporters: “I can’t really see the point as to why we were invited to see Dominic Raab. We are no further forward than where we were this time last week.
“Part of me is feeling like it was just a publicity stunt on the UK government side to show they are trying to help.
“But, although he is engaging with us, we have no answers. We are really frustrated that we could spend half an hour or more with him and just come out with nothing.”
Mr Seiger said they were engaging lawyers to take a civil case against Mrs Sacoolas in America.
“Our position is that she doesn’t have immunity and that waivers are always granted in these circumstances,” Mr Seiger told reporters in Westminster.
“Now we can disclose to you we have brought lawyers on board … We are going to Washington soon to help us get that justice for Harry.”
Asked about his son by reporters, Mr Dunn became emotional and was supported by his family as he called him a “special boy”.
“He was a beautiful boy, a beautiful lad, he had so many friends, he loved life, he loved his motorbikes, loved his football,” he said.
“He didn’t have a bad bone in his body, he just loved his family, he just loved everything.
“He was a special boy and I miss him like mad.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Raab and Northamptonshire Police have asked the US to consider waiving the immunity.
Prior to meeting the US Ambassador, Mr Raab raised the case in a telephone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
After Tuesday’s meeting, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “The Foreign Secretary met the US Ambassador today and urged the US to reconsider its position and do the right thing by Harry Dunn’s family.”