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US court to set timetable for Harry Dunn suspect to give evidence in civil case

An application to dismiss the substantive claim against Anne Sacoolas was thrown out in February.

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Harry Dunn died in August 2019 (Family Handout/PA)

Harry Dunn died in August 2019 (Family Handout/PA)

Harry Dunn died in August 2019 (Family Handout/PA)

A US court is expected to set a timetable for Harry Dunn’s alleged killer to give evidence in a civil claim for damages against her.

In February, a judge ruled the substantive claim against Anne Sacoolas can go ahead in the US state of Virginia, despite the suspect’s motion to dismiss it.

While making the application, lawyers acting on behalf of Sacoolas made admissions about the 43-year-old’s employment at the time of the road crash which killed Mr Dunn – saying she and her husband Jonathan worked for the US state department and “fled” the UK due to “issues of security”.

The US government asserted diplomatic immunity on behalf of Sacoolas following the 19-year-old’s death in August 2019 outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, and she was able to return to her home country.

She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but an extradition request, submitted by the Home Office, was rejected by the US state department in January last year.

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Charlotte Charles, mother of Harry Dunn holding a photograph of him aged 14 (Family Handout/PA)

Charlotte Charles, mother of Harry Dunn holding a photograph of him aged 14 (Family Handout/PA)

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Charlotte Charles, mother of Harry Dunn holding a photograph of him aged 14 (Family Handout/PA)

On Wednesday, the suspect’s legal representatives will submit motions to dismiss certain parts of the civil claim – including an application to pay compensation amounting only to Mr Dunn’s funeral costs.

The Dunn family also brought the damages claim against Mr Sacoolas, due to Virginia’s laws suggesting he is liable for allowing his wife to use the car which killed the teenager.

Judge Thomas Ellis allowed the case to remain in the US and dismissed Sacoolas’s application against the substantive civil claim, citing her “refusal” to return to the UK.

Handing his judgment down last month, the judge said: “While it is commendable that defendant Anne Sacoolas admits that she was negligent and that her negligence caused Harry Dunn’s death, this does not equate acceptance of responsibility.

“Full acceptance of responsibility entails facing those harmed by her negligence and taking responsibility for her acts where they occurred, in the United Kingdom.”

After throwing out Sacoolas’s motion to dismiss, Judge Ellis is expected to set a timetable on Wednesday for the suspect to give evidence in a “deposition” ahead of a trial to be held in Virginia later this year.

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