EXCLUSIVE: Harry Dunn’s accused killer ‘laughs and jokes’ after first appearance in UK court
Moments after facing a charge of causing Harry Dunn’s death by dangerous driving, American Anne Sacoolas appears to be seen laughing and joking with her US lawyer.
The teenager’s alleged killer was all smiles as she left from a secluded entrance at her high-powered Washington DC attorney’s office after appearing in a UK court for the first time.
But despite attempts to prevent being located, Sacoolas lost all trace of happiness when the Mirror approached the former US spook for comment.
Asked if she had a message for Harry’s family, if she would return to the UK to face trial or wanted to comment on her case, she refused.
Instead, her lawyer, Amy Jeffress, simply said: “We have no comment to make.”
Sacoolas, who was visibly annoyed at being found, had arrived at the Arnold & Porter law offices 50 minutes before her scheduled appearance at Westminister Magistrates Court.
She was driven there by Jeffress in the lawyer’s dark blue Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Sacoolas appeared to show no signs of concern as she chatted to the attorney ahead of her appearance before Paul Goldspring.
After the hearing before the magistrate ended, she then ventured back to the car at 9.50am local time.
As she walked to the vehicle, she was laughing and joking with Jeffress until we approached.
It came despite her being ordered to appear in a UK court in person as his family saw their first glimmer of justice.
Sacoolas yesterday faced her charge – ending Harry’s family’s three-year wait for criminal proceedings to begin.
The 45-year-old appeared via video link as the 19-year-old’s extended family watched on from the public gallery.
She is accused of causing the teenage motorcyclist’s death following a collision outside a US military base at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire when she was driving her Volvo 4×4 on August 27, 2019.
Sacoolas was charged after a bid by the UK’s CPS to extradite her was turned down by the US State Department.
In court yesterday Sacoolas, who gave no address except that of the US branch of her lawyers, offered no plea to the charge.
But she indicated through her lawyer that if the allegation was changed to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving she would enter a plea.
Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson KC told the court: “A joint application was made in advance for her to appear by live link and we are grateful for that.
“She is charged with death by dangerous driving, which is an indictable-only offence, and the prosecution invite her case to be sent to the crown court.”
Chief Magistrate Goldspring gave Sacoolas unconditional bail ahead of a pre-trial hearing at the Old Bailey on October 28, but said she “must attend”.
He suggested she might have to appear in court in person or appeal to be allowed to carry on viewing via video link.
Mr Goldspring added: “At the moment, she is appearing by video link but that might not be the appropriate way in future.
“I will make the direction that she is to attend and she can apply to the Recorder of London to appear by video.”
Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf by the US government following the collision and was able to leave the UK 19 days after the incident.
Harry’s parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, yesterday wore lime green ties, black shirts, lapel pins, scarves and wristbands in a silent tribute to Harry.
It was the same colour as the motorbike Harry was riding when he died.
At 2.12pm yesterday the image of Sacoolas was beamed onto the video link – the culmination of an agonising three-year campaign by Harry’s family.
With her hair tucked behind her ears, she wore a pale blue spotted scarf, a dark blazer and a white shirt.
Her legal representative, Amy Jeffress, sat at her side at a wooden desk in front of dark blue screen.
Sacoolas spoke only to confirm her name and date of birth, stating: “Hi, my name is Anne Elizabeth Sacoolas.”
At 2.20pm – just eight minutes after it began – the hearing ended and Sacoolas’ face vanished from the screen.
Outside Court One, Harry’s tearful family hugged and wiped away tears.
Holding hands as they left the court building, their representative made a brief statement, saying: “I want to say on their behalf a massive thank you to the millions of people around the world who have supported this heroic family through this campaign.”
The CPS charged Sacoolas in 2019 and a diplomatic row erupted when the Home Office launched proceedings to bring her back to the UK.
But the US State Department has the power to refuse extradition if they believe she still has diplomatic immunity and if the alleged offence is not a crime in both countries.