The family of a British teenager who was killed when a U.S. spy hit him while driving on the wrong side of the road in 2019 has agreed to an out of court settlement.
A spokesperson for the family of Harry Dunn, who was 19 when he died, confirmed to The Daily Beast that there was a “resolution” in the civil case brought in the U.S. Dunn was struck by Anne Sacoolas, 44, who was living and working at the Royal Air Force base in Croughton, which is a known base for American spies.
Dunn’s parents were stunned when former President Donald Trump tried to ambush them with a surprise meeting with Sacoolas after the accident during a visit to the White House. They said they would be happy to talk to the American woman—but only in court.
Sacoolas, whose lawyer confirmed she was working as an intelligence agent when the accident happened, has been charged in the U.K. for causing death by dangerous driving, but the U.S. has so far refused to extradite her for trial. The British Home Office says its request was rejected by the State Department under Trump. On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss raised the issue of extradition with Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the UN General Assembly meetings in New York. It is not clear if he gave any indication whether the Biden administration would be willing to revisit the matter.
John McCavin, a lawyer for Sacoolas, told the court at her extradition hearing last year that she was “employed by an intelligence agency in the U.S.” which is why the U.S. government quickly ferried her out of the country after she had been questioned twice about the accident. British media has suggested she was texting at the time she was driving down the wrong side of the road. When asked by the court if keeping her in the U.K. to face charges was a potential security threat, McGavin said, “I know the answer, but I cannot disclose it.”
U.S. intelligence operatives working at the Croughton base have diplomatic immunity thanks to a 1995 agreement. It is unclear exactly to what sort of intelligence work she was assigned. Her husband was also reportedly working for an intelligence agency.
Radd Sieger, spokesman for the Dunn family, said in a statement that a resolution in the civil case has been “reached successfully between the parties and they can put this part of the campaign behind them.”
But they are not giving up on bringing Sacoolas to the U.K. to face justice there. “Harry’s family continue to suffer unimaginable pain and miss him each and every day. Their mental health is at an all time low. It has therefore come as some considerable relief to them that a resolution to the civil claim has been now been reached successfully between the parties and they can put this part of the campaign behind them,” Sieger told The Daily Beast in an email. “The family feel that they can now turn their attention to the criminal case and the long awaited inquest into Harry’s death, which will follow the criminal case. There will also need to be a parliamentary inquiry into this scandal in due course... This is a pivot point in the campaign, a real milestone.”
Sieger said that it had been two years to the day since the family were told by Northamptonshire Police that they had less than 1 percent chance of having anyone held accountable for his death and that there is still “much work left to be done.” He said he hopes “we leave an important legacy behind for him that what happened to this family will never happen to another British family again at the hands of the U.S. government.”