London — A US citizen who initially claimed diplomatic immunity on Thursday admitted responsibility in court for the 2019 death of a British teenager due to careless driving.
Anne Sacoolas, 45, pleaded guilty to causing the death of Harry Dunn, 19, who was driving a motorcycle near a US military base when the accident happened in August 2019.
Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf by the US government following the crash in Northamptonshire and was able to leave Britain 19 days after the incident.
“Previously it had been reported that the husband of Sacoolas was a CIA intelligence officer working at the RAF Croughton base in Northamptonshire,” The Guardian reports. “It had been suggested that his wife had an intelligence background but was a dependent and not working at the time at the base.”
In December 2019, the Crown Prosecution Service authorized Northamptonshire Police to charge her with causing Dunn’s death by dangerous driving.
On Thursday, she denied that charge, but admitted the lesser offence when she appeared at the Old Bailey by video link.
Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson KC said the plea was accepted by the crown.
Dunn’s family, who had long campaigned for his killer to face justice, were sitting in court.
Both Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn held their heads in their hands as Sacoolas pleaded guilty. Telling the court the crown accepted the plea of causing death by careless driving, Atkinson said: “The crown recognizes putting at risk a vulnerable road user is capable of amounting to dangerous driving.
“The prosecution has taken into account … the mitigation available to this defendant and the balance of justice.
“It has been considered at the very highest level.
“The crown considers the plea of causing death by careless driving is one that is acceptable.”
Atkinson said the crown would not be proceeding to trial on the charge of causing death by dangerous driving. The guilty plea was watched by around 20 members of Harry Dunn’s family.
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