UK

Harry Dunn’s parents hold ‘much harder’ second funeral after remains find

Harry’s close family held a short 15-minute service at Banbury Crematorium on Friday.

The family of Harry Dunn attending his second funeral, at Banbury Crematorium in Oxfordshire
Harry Dunn's family at his second funeral The family of Harry Dunn attending his second funeral, at Banbury Crematorium in Oxfordshire (Jacob King/PA)

The emotional parents of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn have said holding a second funeral for their son was “much harder” than the first time.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, alongside Harry’s twin brother Niall and their partners Bruce Charles and Tracey Dunn, attended a private service on Friday after remains were found on his clothing and returned to funeral directors last month.

Mrs Charles told the PA news agency the second funeral service had “retraumatised” the family, adding that the “pain is extremely deep-rooted”.

Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles and his twin brother Niall Dunn attending his second funeral on Friday
Harry Dunn death Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles and his twin brother Niall Dunn attending his second funeral on Friday (Jacob King/PA)

The Dunn family spent more than three years campaigning for US citizen Anne Sacoolas to face a UK court – a fight that saw the teenager’s parents change laws and secure a meeting with former US president Donald Trump at the White House.

The 19-year-old’s killer, described by her own lawyer as an employee of the US State Department, was flown out of the UK on the orders of her country’s government, after she collided with Mr Dunn’s motorbike while driving on the wrong side of the road outside RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, in August 2019.

Diplomatic immunity was asserted on her behalf by Mr Trump’s administration, and she was able to leave the country 19 days after the crash.

Sacoolas appeared before a High Court judge at the Old Bailey via video-link in December 2022, where she was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving.

Northamptonshire Police said Harry’s clothing, bike and helmet were removed from the crash site and as they were examined to repatriate them to the family, human remains were discovered on the clothing.

Det Chief Supt Emma James said she would be meeting the family in the coming days to “ensure complete transparency”.

Speaking after the service at Banbury Crematorium, Harry’s father said he hoped it was the last time he would have to say goodbye to his son.

He told PA: “It breaks you still every time when this comes.

“You think you’re moving forwards, moving on with your life, but you just can’t do it – it just seems to kick you again and again.

“Hopefully now I’ve said my last goodbye to my son and we can move forward with this part of it – hopefully now he can be at peace, at rest.

“Only my son could have two funerals.”

Mrs Charles said the short 15-minute service they held for Harry had a picture of the large numbers of people who had attended his first funeral displayed on a screen.

She said: “It was worse than last time I think – not numb this time, not in shock any more.

“The pain is extremely deep-rooted, more than you could ever really comprehend, and you wouldn’t want anyone to be able to comprehend.

Mrs Charles said the situation had ‘retraumatised’ the family
Harry Dunn death Mrs Charles said the situation had ‘retraumatised’ the family (Jacob King/PA)

“I’m weirdly glad we’ve had the opportunity to do it, because of the rumours that were flying round last time – that Anne Sacoolas had fled and we didn’t know how to deal with that back on September 18 2019.

“I’m angry at what’s happened, today.

“But me being the person that I am, trying to find the positives, I’m glad we had the opportunity today to do it our way and go and have our family time now, just the few of us, and remember him in the way we want to remember him without worrying about what people were saying to us that afternoon.

“Little did we know four-and-a-half years ago we had all of what we’ve been through to come.

“Today is very much about the fact we’ve ridden those storms and this is another terrific storm that we’re riding and we’ll get the answers we need and we’ll come out the other side.”

Mr Dunn also said the second funeral was “much harder” than the first.

He said: “It was much harder this time.

“First time around we were just numb still from what we were going through at the time.

Harry was killed when Anne Sacoolas’s Volvo crashed into his motorbike while she was driving on the wrong side of the road in August 2019
Harry Dunn death Harry was killed when Anne Sacoolas’s Volvo crashed into his motorbike while she was driving on the wrong side of the road in August 2019 (Family Handout/PA)

“After the realisation four-and-a-half years on, that was quite hard to go through that.

“I don’t know what else to say really, it just keeps giving this situation we’re in – we just never seem to get to the end of it.”

Mrs Charles added: “It retraumatises, without a doubt, of course it does.

“Being back in a place like this – you never think you’re going to come here twice for the same loved one – so when it’s your son I don’t think it can be any worse.

“So yes, it retraumatises but we’re glad of the knowledge we’ve got since the first time and it’s made us stronger as a family, stronger in ourselves as people and there’s nothing now we can be faced with that we can’t come out the other side of.

“Every hurdle we get given, everything we stumble across and everything we seemingly keep finding out that can be beyond your wildest thoughts – it’s phased me at the moment but it won’t phase us in the long run.”

“The big screen had a photograph of the trail of motorbikes, so that was of paramount importance to us, to know that the biking family were also with us today, even though some of them may not know… it was important for us to have the biking family up there on screen just to know that they are still there.

“But today otherwise was very much, personally, just for us.”