The parents of Harry Dunn, the 19-year-old motorcyclist killed in a crash have called on Donald Trump to intervene in their campaign to get the US diplomat’s wife involved to come to the UK, asking what he would do if tragedy were to befall his own son.
In an emotional press conference in Manhattan just streets away from the president’s famed Trump Tower, Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles – Dunn’s parents – promised to pursue justice for their son, seven weeks after he was killed in a nighttime crash that has now sparked a scandal that spans the Atlantic and opened up questions about privilege and immunity in international relations.
Mr Dunn, when asked what he might say to Mr Trump if he had the chance, referenced the president’s five children, which include a 13-year-old boy.
“I would just say to him, as a man as a father … just to see, how could you let this happen? If you’re a father and your child had died, surely you would want that person to own up and take the responsibility of their own actions. That’s all it is,” Mr Dunn said.
The family are set to travel to Washington, where they hope they can meet with as many politicians as possible, including Mr Trump.
At the heart of their trip is a request that Anne Sacoolas, who allegedly crashed into Dunn on his motorcycle on 27 August near RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, return to the UK. She later fled from Britain claiming diplomatic immunity while police were investigating – a protection that the Foreign Office says no longer applies.
The family said CCTV evidence in the moments leading up to the crash made it “a clear-cut case”.
A tearful Ms Charles told reporters: “We just want to know that she is being brought back to the UK.
“You know, that would be a huge step in the right direction. It’s the only right thing to do. It’s the only humane thing to do.”
She added: “All of our grief has gone on hold, it’s coming out in other horrific ways, your legs feel like lead, you’re in pain morning until night that no painkillers can take away.
“You’re not able to cry, because we can’t understand this whole situation as to why she [Ms Sacoolas] would have left us without wanting to meet us back then.
“She needs to get on the plane and get back to the UK, just do the right thing.
“It shouldn’t be that difficult, it shouldn’t have been this difficult, she surely didn’t have to go.”
Ms Sacoolas has offered to meet with the parents, but Mr Dunn and Ms Charles have indicated a precondition for such an encounter would be Ms Sacoolas’s return to the UK.
During their press conference on Monday, the parents said that they would have worked to lessen any possible charges for Ms Sacoolas if she had come forward after the crash.
The family reiterated their hope to secure Ms Sacoolas a suspended sentence, rather than immediate custody, so as not to take her away from her family.
But, weeks after the crash, Ms Charles suggested that their interest in helping the woman who killed her son may be running out.
“She needs to do the right thing and come back and face what she’s done, face us as a family, face our UK system,” Ms Charles said.
She continued, acknowledging a statement from Ms Sacoolas: “We heard it in a statement – I have not heard her voice… It’s seven weeks now, it feels too little too late.”
The parents said their hopes of a meeting between the two parties should happen “in her own words, in a room, on our terms” back in the UK.
Mr Trump has acknowledged the situation, but has not indicated that he would seek to compel Ms Saccoolas to return to the UK.
“The woman was driving on the wrong side of the road. That can happen,” he said last week. “Those are the opposite side of the road. I won’t say it ever happened to me, but it did.”