Family of Harry Dunn left 'shocked' following revelations of Northamptonshire Police's negligence revealed at inquest

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The family of Harry Dunn say they are ‘shocked’ with Northamptonshire Police’s negligence in monitoring US driver training at RAF Croughton before their son’s death.

Day two of the inquest into the death of 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dunn took place today (Tuesday, June 11) at The Guildhall in Northampton town centre.

Harry Dunn, from Brackley, died after his motorcycle collided with a car driven by American Anne Sacoolas near a US military intelligence base at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27, 2019.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sacoolas received an eight-month suspended jail sentence at the Old Bailey on December 8, 2022, concluding the family’s courageous three-year battle for justice for their son.

Harry DunnHarry Dunn
Harry Dunn
Read More
'Heartbroken' family of Harry Dunn speak out on first day of long-awaited inques...

At today’s hearing, PC Dave Lee of Northamptonshire Police was questioned by the Dunn family’s lawyer, Paddy Gibbs KC, about the police's involvement with the driver training provided at RAF Croughton.

Gibbs opened the session by asking: “Before Harry’s death, had Northamptonshire Police taken an interest in the driver training that was provided at RAF Croughton?” PC Lee responded: “Not that I’m aware of, certainly not from my department.”

Gibbs pressed further, asking if the police had assumed the Americans at the base were responsible for their own drivers. PC Lee speculated that the lack of incidents might have contributed to this assumption. He said: “No, we are data driven. If there was a report of serious injury or fatal collision, each circumstance is looked into and if there’s something the police can perhaps do to reduce that from happening, that would be looked at.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When asked if anyone in Northamptonshire Police had considered the risk posed by new US drivers in the UK, PC Lee admitted: “Until I went to the base, you don’t realise how many staff are coming in, staying or leaving. I can’t speak for the wider organisation but certainly for our department there weren’t any concerns or reasons for us to go to the base prior to that collision.”

Gibbs also inquired about the frequency of new arrivals and driver briefings at the base. PC Lee noted that the briefings occurred monthly, indicating a high turnover of personnel. When asked if it would have been too much for the police to train all newcomers, PC Lee replied: "I think it would have been far too many for us to be going and doing the training, yes."

The police only became involved after Harry's death, when Chief Constable Nick Adderley met with the family and expressed a desire to understand what was happening at the US base. PC Lee was sent to investigate and found that some newcomers at the base were being trained and tested, while others were not.

PC Lee confirmed that he discovered a distinction between those being trained and those not, based on their roles. "The US Air Force (US AF) military category were being trained, but the diplomatic category weren’t," he said. This was attributed to the length of their stay in the UK, with longer-term personnel being prioritized for training.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

PC Lee expressed his concerns about the adequacy of this approach, arguing that all newcomers should receive training. He stated: “Which is one of the reasons why we were keen for everybody to get the training. That was the reassurance we got. The US base acknowledged that everybody needed that. That was adopted by them at quite an early stage.”

However, Gibbs highlighted that these measures were only implemented only after Harry’s tragic death. PC Lee confirmed this, adding, “Tragically, yes.”

When asked about the current situation, Gibbs questioned, “And now the situation is what? That everyone is now trained? All the Americans are now trained?” PC Lee confirmed, "That’s correct."

Reacting to the revelations, speaking on behalf of the Dunn family, Radd Seiger said: “We met with the now disgraced Chief Constable Nick Adderley shortly after Harry died. It was clear to us that no risk assessment had ever been done by the CIA about road danger outside US bases in the UK. We asked him to intervene to see if he could help. He promised he would and shouted from the rooftops that his force would fund that training. Harry’s family are shocked to learn today from PC Lee that in fact only a few shambolic meetings took place and that although driver training was offered by both the police and Institute of Advanced Motorists to the Americans, neither offer was taken up. It is also now clear that Adderley failed to follow this up and follow through on his promise to the family to resolve the issue. We heard no further from him and had simply assumed he had put a program of training in place. We are shocked and appalled that this is not the case.”