The family of Harry Dunn is “horrified” that the American driver who killed him has been told by the US government that she does not have to return to the UK for her sentencing.
Radd Seiger, a spokesman for the family, said his parents believe the US government is “actively interfering in our criminal justice system” by advising Anne Sacoolas she can appear via videolink at the Old Bailey on Thursday.
Sacoolas, who is employed by the US government, was driving on the wrong side of the road when she killed Mr Dunn, who was 19, three years ago.
“Harry’s family are victims of a serious crime and they have been kept in the dark completely about what is to come at Thursday’s hearing since Mrs Sacoolas’s guilty plea on October 20,” Mr Seiger said.
“We are horrified to learn that the United States government is now actively interfering in our criminal justice system.
“Their ongoing cruel treatment of Harry’s parents is nothing short of inhumane and it continues to take a heavy toll on their mental health.”
Mr Dunn’s parents would accept if there was a “genuine reason” she could not attend, he said, but “on the face of it, it appears that this is nothing short of a cowardly act on the part of an oppressor”.
He has asked for an urgent meeting with James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, to understand how the government intended to respond.
Mr Dunn was killed by Sacoolas in August 2019 as he drove his motorbike near RAF Croughton, an American military and intelligence base in Northamptonshire.
Sacoolas, a former spy, left the country 19 days later after the US government asserted she had diplomatic immunity.
Mr Dunn’s parents, Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles, have campaigned since then for her to return to the UK to face justice.
She pleaded guilty to causing his death by careless driving in October and was urged by the judge to return to Britain to face justice.
Sacoolas attended both previous hearings via videolink from her lawyer’s offices in Washington DC.
Her representatives and the US State Department have been contacted for comment.