| 17.8°C Belfast

Harry Dunn stepfather speaks of coronavirus symptoms after Hancock tests positive

The family’s spokesman claimed Matt Hancock ‘hugged’ Bruce Charles and himself after the meeting.

Close

Harry Dunn’s stepfather met Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week (Family handout/PA)

Harry Dunn’s stepfather met Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week (Family handout/PA)

Harry Dunn’s stepfather met Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week (Family handout/PA)

The stepfather of Harry Dunn has said the Health Secretary “showed little regard” for social distancing during a meeting in which he is said to have hugged him.

Bruce Charles told the PA news agency he started showing coronavirus symptoms just hours before Matt Hancock announced he had tested positive on Friday.

Mr Hancock said he would be self-isolating until Thursday.

For him to have broken his own department’s rules in the meeting is beyond the pale.Bruce Charles, Harry Dunn's stepfather

The pair met last week to discuss the ambulance delay before Harry’s death – but Mr Charles told PA the Health Secretary’s statement has forced him to isolate himself from Mr Dunn’s mother due to her asthma.

“For him to have broken his own department’s rules in the meeting is beyond the pale.  No wonder he is ill – having shown such little regard for the rules himself,” Mr Charles said.

“My main concern is Charlotte’s health.  She suffers from severe asthma and that is why she did not come to the meeting.

“Earlier this morning I started to come down with symptoms which may be Covid-19.

“I was then hit with the news earlier this afternoon that Mr Hancock has tested positive for it.

Harry Dunn death
Bruce Charles, the stepfather of Harry Dunn (Aaron Chown/PA)

“I am now left with no option but to isolate myself from her because of our encounter with Mr Hancock.

“It is an outrage and compounds our misery when we had otherwise been following all the rules.”

Mr Dunn was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.

Anne Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity following the crash and was able to return to the US, sparking an international controversy.

The family’s spokesman Radd Seiger told PA the meeting, which lasted 11 minutes, started with Mr Hancock announcing he had just arrived from a meeting with the Prime Minister.

Mr Seiger said the Health Secretary “announced how stressed he was because he was ‘saving the nation'” at the start of the meeting.

Both Charlotte Charles and Mr Dunn’s father, Tim Dunn, were not present at the meeting – with Mr Charles and the teenager’s step-brother Ciaran Charles in attendance with Mr Seiger.

The family’s spokesman said of Mr Hancock: “He walked around the table and firstly gave Bruce and Ciaran a full-on hug followed by a handshake.

“I then walked past him and he went to give me a hug too. He managed to slip one arm around my back but I pulled away, fully aware of the need to engage in social distancing.

“I could not believe what I had just witnessed and the three of us then left, utterly bewildered at what just happened.

“We had all been dragged down to London, for a waste of a meeting, in highly dangerous circumstances, to be confronted by the Health Secretary of all people who breached his Government’s own protocol.”

Mr Seiger said he had also been forced to self-isolate.

He said: “The news has shocked me to the core.

“I am my wife’s carer as she has been very seriously ill and have three children who are all at home.

“I am appalled and disgusted that he should have behaved so recklessly and irresponsibly and jeopardised all our health.

“He would have had access to the same information at that time that we had – and he deliberately flouted it.

“He should have led from the front and either cancelled the meeting or held it by phone.”

The Government said Mr Hancock followed clinical advice at the time.

It said he was following all clinical guidance at the time the meeting took place, and guidance on social distancing was not published until March 23.

PA