How long must this nightmare before Christmas continue for tragic Harry Dunn’s family? – The Sun
THANKS to the double whammy of the General Election and Brexit, far too many important issues have been kicked into the long grass.
One of the most heartbreaking is the death of Harry Dunn, killed when a car on the wrong side of the road hit his motorbike outside an RAF base in Northamptonshire in August.
The driver turned out to be Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence official, and before you could whistle The Star Spangled Banner she was given diplomatic immunity and whisked back to America, instead of doing the decent thing and facing the consequences.
This week I spoke to Harry’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, an extraordinarily brave couple who promised their dying son they would fight for justice on his behalf.
I met them just before they headed back to the US to continue their tenacious campaign.
I was struck by their dignity and determination, as well as a deep, palpable grief at the death of their beloved boy who was only 19 and had his life in front of him.
Despite being separated and both having new partners, Charlotte and Tim have always remained close for the sake of Harry and his twin Niall.
They told me that Harry, a sunny natured and outgoing teenager, was the glue that held everyone together and the reason the family managed to stay close after the split. He made sure lines of communication were kept open and regularly hopped on his motorbike and visited his grandparents and other members of his extended family.
I suspect that being caught up in this nightmare, which has seen them appear on network TV both here and in the US, as well as an utterly surreal meeting with Donald Trump at the White House, has made it almost impossible for Harry’s parents to grieve properly for their son.
They are still in shock, dazed and barely sleeping, and it is only their resolve to achieve justice for their son that is driving them on. Harry’s death made global headlines.
DRIVING THEM ON
Sadly, the spotlight shifts all too quickly, and the world forgets about such tragedies and moves on. But Charlotte, Tim and Niall, and everyone who knew and loved Harry, lives with the pain every single minute of every single day.
Charlotte told me that Niall, always the quieter and less out-going twin, is finding it extremely hard to come to terms with the death of his brother.
He cannot bear to talk about what happened and is haunted because he doesn’t know exactly how Harry died.
Tim has spoken about seeing his son’s poor shattered bloody body at the crash scene and how he tried to reassure him that all would be well, but his boy died shortly afterwards.
Frankly, I don’t know how Anne Sacoolas can live with herself.
If she had only stayed to help the police piece together what had happened, she would have had the chance to express her sorrow, and more than likely been given a suspended sentence.
That would at least have given Harry’s family some peace of mind.
Instead, Charlotte and Tim are trying to get US officials to listen to them and hoping Donald Trump will make good on his promise of getting something done.
If the President thought he could steamroller this “ordinary” British couple during that encounter, he was soon put right.
They turned down his clumsy attempt at setting up a meeting with Sacoolas, who was waiting in a White House side room. They didn’t want to be bounced into a Trump photo opportunity, and they also said they rejected an offer of compensation.
Charlotte and Tim are also ready to file a civil lawsuit against Sacoolas in the state of Virginia, in an attempt to have her hand herself in to UK authorities.
I spoke to them about how the family would face Christmas, and they simply shook their heads in sorrow. Fighting tears, Charlotte told me it was going to be horrendous, especially as Harry loved this time of year so much.
I can’t get out of my head the image of them at home, surrounded by sadness, while neighbours in houses around them are making merry.
Charlotte said it was made worse by the fact that Sacoolas will be able to celebrate Christmas with her children.
It seems the Sacoolas family and the authorities are hoping that if they stall long enough Charlotte and Tim are just going to go away.
I can assure them that they will never give up.
I sincerely hope this courageous couple, who are going through the torments of hell, somehow manage to shame officials here and in the US into doing what’s right.
Sacoolas should be sent back to the UK to explain herself, apologise and face her punishment.
New PM Boris Johnson has a bloody long to-do list, but justice for Harry must be one of his priorities.
WILL he fall at the final hurdle Saturday night or will Anton du Beke go all the way and win his first ever Strictly Glitterball after 17 years of trying.
If I was ever to do the show (which I never will as I would be utter rubbish) then you can bet your life it would be poor old Anton who would have to shove me around the dancefloor like an overstuffed wardrobe.
He tends to get the plucky no-hopers of a certain age, but this year was given a real contender in the shape of firecracker Emma Barton, from EastEnders.
It’s too close to call with the other two finalists, Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden, and Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse at the top of their game, but no one would begrudge Anton his moment of glory.
J-Lo sets the bar high
JENNIFER Lopez celebrated her Screen Actors Guild Award nomination with an online message to her fans – while on a treadmill in the gym.
Being J-Lo, her make-up was flawless, she was wearing a gorgeous tracksuit and she completed the look with fabulous hoop earrings.
Despite working out, she wasn’t even glowing, never mind perspiring.
What a contrast to the rest of us.
I’m a sweaty, red-faced mess after my exercise class and look as though I’ve been dragged through every hedge in the land not just backwards, but forwards too.
J-Lo has been nominated for a SAG for her role as Ramona in Hustlers, and during the message she even got a little teary, but of course without the red nose and puffy eyes of us mere mortals.
She makes the world a more beautiful place.
KRIS Jenner frightens the life out of me and is someone I would definitely not like to meet on a dark and stormy night.
She’s the powerhouse behind the insane Kardashian phenomenon and expert at making very little talent go a bloody long way. Now we are told that the scariest stepmother since Cinderella’s has decided to buy her long-suffering family, including her 85-year-old mum, Botox vouchers for Christmas.
Obviously there’s a money-making opportunity here, as Kris has signed up to promote a Botox company offering $100 gift tokens as seasonal presents.
And I suppose even if they are insulted or unhappy about her gift, they won’t be able to show those emotions on their newly frozen faces.
So Kris wins again.
Mumps give me hump
I’M deeply concerned and extremely angry about the current mumps epidemic among hundreds of university students.
Since this summer, more than 7,000 cases of this dangerous and infectious disease have been reported. If untreated it can lead to deafness, meningitis, and can reduce male fertility.
It’s a direct result of parents refusing to let their kids be given the MMR jab when the recent crop of sufferers were babies at the turn of the century.
Scare stories about MMR being linked with autism led to parents opting out of immunisation and now we are reaping the whirlwind.
Health officials have urged anyone who hasn’t had the jab to do so immediately and have warned of a “public health time bomb”.
There’s also been a surge in the cases of measles, a disease that can kill.
It is outrageous that we are fortunate enough to have the science to eradicate these diseases completely, and save millions of lives in the process, but through misinformation, stubbornness and, even in a few cases sheer laziness, measles and mumps are being allowed to flourish once more.
We need to get a grip and protect our babies, children and young people from harm that is easily preventable.
Steph's Baking power
WELL done to Great British Bake Off runner-up Steph Blackwell for being so refreshingly honest about her struggles with various eating disorders.
The 28-year-old, who was a joy to watch on the show, wants to help other people struggling with anorexia, bulimia and depression and to reassure them that things can get better.
When she was 19, and in the grip of the illness, she would never have imagined one day she would be enjoying baking in front of the nation.
Steph is proof that debilitating and often life-threatening eating disorders can be brought under control with understanding and the right kind of help.
More power to her.
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