Donald Trump repeatedly asked Harry Dunn’s parents to meet American diplomat’s wife Anne Sacoolas as she waited outside the Oval Office and when they resisted he told them: ‘She’s here so let’s get some healing’, it was revealed today.
Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn said the US President ‘took their breath away’ when he told them the woman who allegedly killed their son with her Volvo SUV outside an airbase in Britain was also in the White House.
Harry’s mother told Gayle King on CBS in New York today: ‘He [Donald Trump] offered his condolences, he seemed warm and he was welcoming but it didn’t take long for him to drop into the conversation that Anne Sacoolas was in the building’.
Mr Dunn added: ‘It took your breath away when he mentioned it for the first time. He did ask two or three times. We said no, we didn’t feel it was right and he said: “No she’s here so let’s get some healing” or something like that – but we stuck to our guns’.
Ms Charles said that the White House was the ‘wrong setting’ to meet the fugitive and said: ‘To be thrown into a room together with no prior warning, that’s not good for her mental health, it’s certainly not good for ours. We’ve got locked in grief for 7 weeks. None of us know how we’re going to react’.
Harry’s parents believe they were ‘ambushed’ by the Preisent who held Ms Charles’ hand before revealing the American diplomat’s wife was next door and ready to meet them.
They then told the US President it was ‘inappropriate’ and they won’t face Sacoolas until she returns to Britain and hands herself in to police telling him: ‘If it was your son you’d be doing the same as us’.
Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn said the US President ‘took their breath away’ when he told them in the Oval Office that Anne Sacoolas was also in the White House and told them: ‘She’s here so let’s get some healing’
Harry Dunn, 19, was killed in August when his motorcycle collided with a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas outside a British air force base in Northamptonshire. Sacoolas was whisked to the White House last night
Boris backs family’s decision to reject White House meeting with Harry Dunn’s killer
Boris Johnson today backed the decision by Harry Dunn’s parents to snub a meeting with Anne Sacoolas.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said Mr Johnson ‘fully supports’ the decision of Harry Dunn’s family not to meet the US suspect in the investigation into his death.
Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, parents of the 19-year-old motorcyclist who was killed in a hit-and-run, said they felt ‘a little ambushed’ after President Donald Trump offered to set-up a meeting with suspect Anne Sacoolas at the White House following a meeting on Tuesday.
Mrs Sacoolas returned to the United States days after the August crash which killed Harry and sought diplomatic immunity via her marriage to a state official.
The PM’s spokesman said: ‘I think it was absolutely a decision for the family as to how they chose to proceed when the president made that suggestion, and the Prime Minister fully supports the decision that they made.’
Earlier today on Good Morning Britain Mrs Charles said they were ‘shocked’ when President Trump dropped the ‘bombshell’ that the woman who knocked down Harry while driving on the wrong side of the road was yards away.
Sacoolas, who claimed diplomatic immunity and fled the UK on a state-sponsored private jet last month, had been whisked from a secret location to Washington DC after the President invited Harry’s parents to the White House last night.
And then in an extraordinary moment Mr Trump reportedly revealed that Anne Sacoolas was next door and asked them if they wanted to meet her – but they refused.
Charlotte Charles told Good Morning Britain today: ‘We’d considered they might spring that on us. We were still shocked that they actually did. It’s not really very fair’.
After telling the President that Mrs Sacoolas should stay away, Mrs Charles revealed: ‘I spoke directly to Mr Trump for a good few minutes. He did seem sincere, he didn’t try to interrupt me or cut me off.
‘At the end of the meeting it was him who took my hand and I squeezed it very tight. I said: ‘You need to see, if this was your son you’d be doing the same thing’. He said: ‘yes, yes I would’ and I said: ‘So please, please, do the right thing. Just try’. He squeezed my hand back and said he would ‘try to push from another angle’.’
Harry Dunn’s bereft parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn (right with spokesman Radd Seiger) appeared on Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid from New York, where they have spent the week on a US TV media blitz
President Trump, pictured yesterday in the Rose Garden with the Stanley Cup and the St. Louis Blues ice hockey team, is said to have promised to look at the case again ‘at a new angle’ after his offer of a meeting with Sacoolas was rebuffed
But she added: ‘But if I’m totally honest, I don’t hold out too much hope that she’s going to be returned to us in the UK’.
Asked if she could speak to Anne mother-to-mother and what she’d say, Charlotte said: ‘I would just ask her to get on the plane and do the humane thing, do the right thing, set her children a good example.
Harry died from his injuries after being hit on the wrong side of the road seven weeks ago
‘She needs to do the right thing and make that decision herself to get back on the plane and come back to the UK and meet us on UK soil and face what she’s actually done.’
Describing his pride watching his ex-wife speak to Trump, Harry’s father Tim said: ‘Charlotte was so strong – I was so proud – Mr Trump was listening, I don’t think he dared interrupt her. I like to think he’s an honourable man and that he will keep his promise to try to another way to move things forward’.
The family’s lawyer Radd Seiger has revealed he ended the talks after Mr Trump revealed the fugitive was next door – causing the President’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien to declare loudly: ‘She’s not coming back [to Britain]’.
He said the White House had tried to turn the meeting into a press call with a bank of photographers ready to capture the moment Harry’s parents met the woman who knocked down and killed their son.
He said: ‘It was almost like: ‘Hey I’ve got someone who wants to see you’. Then I looked to my side and I saw at least three photographers ready to do a press call’.
He added: ‘The family feel a little ambushed to say the least and disappointed they made the effort to go all the way there and all the way back with little progress towards achieving the closure they are so desperately seeking’.
He added: ‘It struck us that this meeting was hastily arranged by nincompoops on the run and in particular Mr O’Brien who appeared to be extremely uptight and aggressive and did not come across at all well in this meeting which required careful handling and sensitivity’.
Harry’s mother Charlotte told reporters outside the White House last night that Mr Trump had promised he would ‘push it from a different angle’ after they refused to see the woman next door.
She said: ‘We are still more than willing to meet her, but we made it very clear that that needs to be on our terms, on UK soil. And we could still work with that justice system to do anything we could.’
She said that Trump held her hand during the meeting and she felt that he was sincere.
‘He’s the one in control here, but we are in control of our situation as much as we can be. And we still want justice for Harry. And we will take it as far as we possibly can to ensure that that’s done,’ she added.
Nineteen-year-old Harry was killed in August when his motorcycle collided with a car driven by Sacoolas, who is a US diplomat’s wife, outside a British air force base used by the Americans in Northamptonshire.
Harry’s parents said they were not given an idea of what Sacoolas wanted to say to them and Trump did not suggest that he would send Sacoolas back to the UK.
Charlotte said that at the beginning of the meeting Trump ruled out Sacoolas returning to the UK but she added: ‘I do feel that at the end when he said that he would try to push this from a different angle, there’s that tiny little bit of hope that he will hopefully take another look and maybe work harder for us.’
Charlotte said they ‘were a bit shocked’ that they were asked to meet with their son’s alleged killer.
We are still more than willing to meet her, but we made it very clear that that needs to be on our terms, on UK soil. And we could still work with that justice system to do anything we could
Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles
She said: ‘It’s not appropriate to meet her without therapists and mediators, let alone for us as a family. But also to her. I don’t think it’s appropriate for her. How can it be comfortable for her to be thrown into a situation like that without therapists and mediators.’
The grieving mother added: ‘I feel like we’ve got a little bit of progress. We didn’t get the promises that we wanted. They couldn’t tell us who made the decision to let her go back to the U.S. We asked how long she was there for. They still stated three weeks. We’re not totally sure about that.’
The case has attracted widespread interest after Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity after the crash and flew back to the United States.
Sacoolas has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing but her claim of immunity and return to the U.S. provoked an uproar in Britain.
Trump met Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles (pictured front) and Tim Dunn (in glasses above left), shown here speaking outside the White House yesterday
Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles is seen above addressing reporters alongside her husband Bruce Charles after leaving the White House on Tuesday evening
Emotional: Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles told reporters after the meeting: ‘We are still more than willing to meet her, but we made it very clear that that needs to be on our terms, on UK soil. And we could still work with that justice system to do anything we could’
Charlotte Charles holds hands with her husband Bruce Charles as they walk alongside Harry’s father Tim Dunn (in blue T-shirt), when arriving at Union Station in Washington on Tuesday ahead of their meeting at the White House
The case has attracted widespread interest after Sacoolas flew back to the United States following the crash and claimed diplomatic immunity. Harry Dunn’s father is seen above arriving in Washington DC Tuesday
Charlotte Charles and her husband Bruce arrive at Union Station in Washington DC ahead of the White House meeting
It is seven weeks since Mrs Sacoolas collided with Harry’s motorbike (pictured) on the road outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire
US Spy’s wife’s apology: ‘Made us feel worse’, says Harry Dunn’s father
Anne Sacoolas (pictured), 42, has yet to apology in her own words
Harry’s father Tim Dunn told the BBC’s Today Programme Ms Sacoolas’s statement through her lawyers apologising had made the situation ‘a little bit worse’.
‘Now she’s admitted it, we don’t understand why she’s not coming back – she’s admitted her guilt but we still can’t get any further forward with getting her back for some justice for Harry.’
When asked what the family planned to do next, he said: ‘I think we’re going to stick around for a couple of days just to see if things progress because it’s just been like a snowball effect.
‘We came on Sunday and within two days we’ve been to the White House. It’s absolutely bizarre and we just don’t know what the next day is likely to bring.’
In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Ms Charles said she wasn’t holding out too much hope that Ms Sacoolas would return.
‘I think we’re just going to just be forever disappointed, forever disgusted in both the UK and US governments. It just doesn’t make sense to us as to why on earth this should be allowed to happen,’ she said.
She added: ‘We didn’t embark on this without putting some really good thought into it. He would have done the same for anyone of us.
‘We owe it to him to honour him and do our absolute best to get justice for Harry. If that doesn’t come in the way we want it, we will continue to work and we will try and get those diplomatic laws looked at.’
Harry’s dad Tim Dunn said after the meeting: ‘The president was very professional and he spoke very well to us. He listened to Charlotte very well. She spoke excellent to him, and he was understanding. And I think he generally will look to try and resolve this is a way to help us.’
Charlotte said she thinks Harry would have been proud of them taking their fight to the White House.
She said: ‘He would have been very proud. Really proud. He was always one to stand up for his rights when he knew he was in the right. He was – he would do everything that he could possibly do to make sure that he had that heard.
‘Anyone that he felt was being served any injustice. You know, somebody that wasn’t being kind to another person. He would have their back. He would be really proud. He is riding the skies up there now and pushing us on to continue to do him proud. And more than anything, now, do his twin brother and his siblings proud.’
Tim Dunn added: ‘He would’ve been proud. He’d have probably had a laugh about it (being at the White House) as well. Probably, knowing Harry. And I think he’d be pleased that we’ve been doing the best that we can. He knew right from wrong, and I think he knows we’re trying to get it right for him.’
They did not say how long they spent with the president but said ‘they didn’t try to rush us out’.
Dunn’s parents had brought their case directly to U.S. audiences this week, holding a New York news conference and urging Sacoolas to return to Britain.
Earlier on Tuesday Sacoolas revealed that she had spoken to Harry before he died as she admitted for the first time she was driving on the wrong side of the road.
Sacoolas, 42, said she had ‘no time to react’ when the teenager came towards her on his motorbike over a hill.
A statement issued by her lawyers said: ‘Anne stayed on the scene of the accident to assist. She spoke to Harry Dunn to tell him that she would call for help.’
In her first account of what happened, she also said she flagged down another driver and then went to comfort her own children, who were in her crashed Volvo SUV.
The mother of three who flew home to the U.S. on a state-sponsored private jet, said she was ‘terribly, terribly sorry for that tragic mistake’.
Harry’s family, who met Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb in the UK last week, have also demanded an investigation over the Foreign Office’s (FCO) advice to Northamptonshire Police that Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity.
They are demanding to see all emails, messages and notes sent in relation to her immunity status.
Speaking in New York, family spokesman Radd Seiger said: ‘We want to conduct an investigation into the FCO’s decision to advise Northamptonshire Police that this lady had the benefit of diplomatic immunity.
US Spy’s wife brings in lawyer who represents extradition suspects and used to work at US Embassy in London
The US spy’s wife has brought in a lawyer who is an expert in extradition cases who used to work at the American Embassy in London.
Amy Jeffress is a Partner at Arnold & Porter, specialising in criminal defence, national security, international law.
Before this, she worked for the US Justice Department at the U.S. Embassy in London
Before joining Arnold & Porter, Ms Jeffress served as the Justice Department Attaché to the US Embassy in London, where she coordinated cooperation between US and UK authorities on criminal matters.
‘What we don’t know is whether somebody cocked up or whether they were put under pressure by the Americans to concede.’
If they are not happy with the documents, the family say they will then ask for a judge’s opinion on the lawfulness of the FCO’s decision.
After the meeting with Trump Seiger said: ‘Weren’t sure what the basis of the meeting was. That wasn’t made clear to us. We came in good faith and I have to say the president was warm when we met him. He was generous, he extended his condolences, I thought, perfectly appropriately. And he made it clear that he understood the family’s situation.’
He added that being asked to meet with Sacoolas was a ‘surprise’.
He said: ‘We had resolved that that’s not something we were prepared to do at this moment. This family still is emotionally shut down. And that, as you can all imagine, was potentially difficult … in the White House without therapists or mediators around us, I thought. So we declined that offer.
‘Charlotte did an amazing job of engaging with President Trump…As we walked out he said, ‘OK I’ll take another look.’ But again there’s no commitment. When is he going to take another look? And when is going to come back to us by. So my view is, look, dialogue is always good. We were very pleased to be here. It was certainly, I think, not a bad meeting. But we are no further on in terms of getting what we want, which is having Mrs. Sacoolas return to the UK. And in fact that was made pretty clear to us at one point, that that was never going to happen.’
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A letter sent to the family by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, explaining that the US suspect in the case of Harry´s death does not have diplomatic immunity