The lawyer of the US suspect in the case of Harry Dunn’s death has urged the family to “call off the media”, their spokesman has said.
Anne Sacoolas, 42, who is reported to be married to a US intelligence official, was granted diplomatic immunity after a crash on August 27 which led to the 19-year-old motorcyclist’s death, though that protection is now in dispute.
The teenager’s family spokesman, Radd Seiger, told the PA news agency that Mrs Sacoolas’s lawyer, Amy Jeffress, had said the “media frenzy is not helpful” and that Mrs Sacoolas had received “abusive messages” over the case.
Mr Seiger also said the apology from Mrs Sacoolas was “not worth the paper it was written on” and reiterated his view that the family’s position on the suspect returning to the UK is non-negotiable and has been from the start.
Commenting on the discussions he had been having with Mrs Sacoolas’s lawyer since the offer of a meeting, Mr Seiger told PA: “It was such a warm approach, but we thought, we’re not just going to go and hope she says that she’ll send her back.
“I said before we go any further, it’s important you understand that our position on Mrs Sacoolas returning to the UK is non-negotiable.
“We thought, let’s get our cards on the table – but four times it has been ignored.”
Mr Seiger continued: “She keeps coming back, complaining about the media frenzy. She said the media frenzy isn’t helpful.
“So she’s asking me to call off the media and I went back and said ‘actually, I don’t think this is helpful to us – it’s essential. We’re sorry it doesn’t suit her’.”
Addressing what he believed Mrs Sacoolas hoped to achieve from a meeting with the family, Mr Seiger told PA: “When I went on my emails, I thought, what she wants is just a ‘hug and a kiss’ meeting and to sweep this all under the carpet.
“She said she had many abusive phone messages and voicemails left on her phone.
“We understand that must be distressing – but she said the media frenzy isn’t helping.
“We would never deliberately set this sort of thing going but we have a family that is on its knees over this.”
Asked about his response to Mrs Sacoolas’s apology, Mr Seiger said: “Frankly, it’s not worth the paper it is written on. It’s done more damage than good.
“I have seen those comments and obviously have no way of knowing whether those are indeed words which have been uttered by Mrs Sacoolas herself.
“It seems odd to me that if Mrs Sacoolas genuinely wishes to accept responsibility for her actions and express her regret to Harry’s family, that she does not do so openly and honestly herself.
“Accordingly, regrettably, I am afraid that I am left with no other conclusion that this is an attempt by Mrs Sacoolas to salvage her position after the tragic collision and her family departing to the US unannounced.”