Anne Sacoolas was sentenced to eight months in jail, suspended for 12 months, for the careless driving death of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn.
Sacoolas45, was driving her Volvo on the wrong side of the B4031 in Northamptonshire, a two-lane road with a 40mph speed limit, when she hit Harry19, he rode in the opposite direction.
The former US spy was sentenced in the “unprecedented” case at the Old Bailey – but did not attend the hearing in person after US officials stepped in.
An update on Anne Sacoolas’ sentencing
Sacoolas left the UK in August 2019, claiming diplomatic immunity following the collision outside RAF Croughton, a US military base.
It has left the teenager’s grieving parents facing a three-year “torturous” journey to seek justice for their son.
she pleaded guilty In October of this year, Harry was killed by careless driving via a video link from Washington, DC.
In addition to giving Sacoolas a suspended sentence, Judge Cheema-Grubb also ruled that she was disqualified from driving for 12 months.
She told the defendants that she appeared in court Thursday via video link from her attorney’s office in the U.S. capital and that her sentence cannot be enforced while she remains in the United States.
Read more: Sacoolas questioned by Sky News’ James Matthews after sentencing
Sacoolas’ ‘little reason’ for not appearing in court
Judge Chima Grubb criticized Sacoolas for not attending the sentencing hearing in person.
The court heard that US officials had advised her not to fly to the UK because her return “could endanger the vital interests of the US”.
But Mrs Cheema-Grubb said there was no “reason” for Sacoolas not to attend as she had been granted bail.
She also praised Harry’s parents and family for their “dignified persistence”, which she said made Sacoolas “admit his guilt”.
Reading the sentence, the judge told Sacoolas: “You were driving on the wrong side of the road for more than a moment and when you came to the bend in the road you didn’t realize what you were doing.
“I remember it was a short period of driving, you’re not familiar with British roads. Harry Dunne’s death was of course trauma of the highest degree.
“Anyone who has caused death by driving should feel remorse … I admit you feel real remorse.”
In a statement from Sacoolas, read by her lawyers in court, she said the mother-of-three had “regrets every single day”.
She said: “Harry is on my mind all the time and I am very sorry for the pain I have caused.
“It is for this reason that I have been working on this case since 2019.”
Read more: View full text of Sacoolas statement
Her lawyer, Ben Cooper KC, also told the court Sacoolas had been subjected to harassment and multiple death threats, and had moved multiple times.
“We did it, Harry”
Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles gave a rousing speech outside the Old Bailey in which she said Sacoolas would “leave a criminal record for the rest of her life”.
Ms Charles, who said she had assured her son in hospital that she would get justice, added: “Yes, Harry, we did.
“We’d be happy to do anything – for us it’s just about doing the right thing.”
Family spokesman Radd Seiger added: “Our real enemy is not Anne Sacoolas, our real enemy is the US government.”
Sacoolas was driving her two children home from a barbecue at Croton Air Force Base in Northamptonshire when the collision occurred.
The court heard on Thursday that Harry said “don’t let me die” after he was thrown into the car and lay on the road after the collision.
The Old Bailey heard Sacoolas call her husband to the scene, where she was seen crying with her head in her hands.
The court was told she admitted she was driving on the wrong side of the road, speed was not a factor and an alcohol breath test came back negative.
“I made a promise to Harry”
In a victim impact statement, Ms Charles sobbed as she described her “world turned upside down”.
“He was the light of my life before he left us so stupidly and cruelly. Harry just disappeared from my life that night, shattering my existence forever,” she told the court.
She said Harry’s twin Neil continued to be “depressed” by the tragedy, adding: “I didn’t just lose one the night Harry died. I lost Neil too.”
Ms Charles added: “His passing haunts me every minute of every day and I’m not sure how I’m going to get over it.
“I swear to Harry in the hospital that we will get justice for him and that a mother will never break her promise to her son.”
Ms Charles and Harry’s father Tim Dunn said They were ‘appalled’ that Sacoolas was directed to attend the hearing remotely And accused the United States of “actively interfering” in British justice.
They described their fight for the truth as “utterly torturous”, adding: “You can go to bed and not feel exhausted.”
Mr Dunn told Sky News: “I think if you actually told our story to people who didn’t know, they wouldn’t believe some of the things we went through … starting with that horrible night in hospital. “
But he added: “All the heartache and suffering was worth it to show that ordinary people from Northamptonshire can accept these people and get what should be done immediately and justice be done.”
“I have nothing to say to her”
In October 2019, Harry’s family was invited to the White House to meet with then-President Donald Trump — who secretly arranged for Sacoolas to meet them in the Oval Office.
But the parents were kept in the dark about the meeting and declined to take part in the photo-op that Mr Trump wanted.
Now they say they don’t want to talk to her.
Ms Charles said: “You never say never, but I don’t think there’s any chance of that. It’s a bit too late. She’s three years old.”
Mr Dunn added: “Honestly, I don’t think it’s necessary for me to see her. I have nothing to say to her.”
After the sentencing, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “We have learned important lessons from this tragic incident, including improving the diplomatic immunity waiver process and ensuring that the US takes steps to improve RAF security. Road safety around Lawton.”