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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Great Britain. Former U.S. agent Anne Sacoolas convicted of fatally running down a teenage girl

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Former US agent Anne Sacoolas, who fatally ran over British teenager Harry Dunn while driving on the wrong side of the road in the UK, has been sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for a year. The sentencing judge praised the teenager’s parents’ “worthy stubbornness” that led to Sacoolas admitting her guilt.

The accident caused by Anne Sacoolas in August 2019 put a heavy strain on British-American relations for a while, and the topic of withdrawing her diplomatic immunity, which the Americans ultimately did not agree, was discussed by the then leaders of both countries Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.

The accident happened near the US-used RAF Croughton air base in Northamptonshire. 19-year-old Harry Dunn, who was riding a motorcycle, died after colliding with an SUV driven by Sacoolas. The now 45-year-old woman was driving on the wrong side of the road and left the UK on diplomatic immunity shortly after the accident.

Anne Sacoolas by the car

Former agent convicted of fatally hitting a teenager

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USA rejected Sacoolas’s extradition request and she refused to voluntarily return to the UK, but the parents of the slain teenager did not give up. As the case became publicized and successive British foreign ministers dealt with it, the American eventually stood trial, albeit only via video link.

In October this year, she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge than initially charged – causing death by careless driving, not causing death by dangerous driving – and on Thursday she was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for one year, plus a 12-month driving ban.

The parents of the killed teenager did not give up, they welcomed the verdictANDY RAIN/PAP/EPA

Judge Bobbie Cheema-Grubb explained Thursday’s sentencing that a suspended sentence was the only viable option as neither a strict prison term nor community service could be enforced unless Sacoolas had come voluntarily to the UK.

She criticized her for failing to appear in person at the trial, but praised the “worthy stubbornness” of Dunn’s parents that led to Sacoolas admitting her guilt.

Teenager’s Mother: Harry, we did it

Despite the somewhat symbolic verdict, Harry Dunn’s parents expressed satisfaction that they had succeeded in securing Sacoolas’ conviction and that the case was over. – Anne Sacoolas will have a criminal conviction for the rest of her life. It’s something she thought wasn’t going to happen, something the U.S. government thought wasn’t going to happen. Harry, we did it,” his mother declared.

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