Harry Dunn: Family described as ‘excessive’ by Foreign Office officials, leaked emails show
The media campaign by Harry Dunn’s grieving family was described as “excessive” by Foreign Office officials, leaked emails have shown.
Documents have revealed a number of "upsetting" communications criticising Mr Dunn’s relatives, including one email describing the teenager’s mother’s language as “excessive” after she called for Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to resign last May.
The Foreign Office has apologised for "unprofessional and unacceptable language" used by officials in the internal emails.
But shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy has urged Mr Raab to go to the House to apologise in person, adding: "If he does not come willingly, we will take steps to demand he does."
Mr Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019.
His alleged killer, 43-year-old US citizen Sacoolas, was able to return to her home country after diplomatic immunity was asserted on her behalf by the US Government.
The Dunn family have been represented by spokesman Radd Seiger since September 2019, but documents show FCDO officials have described him as "evil", "aggressive" and "erratic" despite admitting that he had played a "media blinder".
The documents were obtained by the family through subject access requests sent to the Foreign Office and Home Office.
One email read: "Everything the family say is completely wrong. The trouble is they don’t understand anything at all of the wider context – and the evil R (Radd) Seiger has not explained it to them…
"And so convinced are they of everyone’s bad faith that it never crosses their mind that anything of that we are telling them might be true."
Charlotte Charles, Harry's mother
The family’s campaign for justice has led to Sacoolas being charged with causing death by dangerous driving, an extradition request being sent to the US by the Home Office, and the diplomatic immunity agreements at American military bases in the UK being altered.
Charlotte Charles and the teenager’s father, Tim Dunn, are in the process of appealing over a High Court ruling on the immunity asserted on behalf of the suspect.
The Permanent Under-Secretary for the FCDO Sir Philip Barton, has written to the family to apologies and described the emails as "isolated comments".
In his letter, he said that “appropriate management action” had been taken with the authors.
But Ms Charles said that the comments made in the emails were “inexcusable” and show “utter disrespect” for their family’s fight for justice.
The Foreign Office said in a statement: "We are very sorry for the offence caused to the Dunn family and their spokesperson.
"The views expressed by a small number of officials were deeply inappropriate, and in no way represent the views of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
"We will continue to do everything we can to support them to achieve justice for Harry."
Radd Seiger said: "Government officials are required to conduct themselves in accordance with core values and defined standards of behaviour. These highly unprofessional and defamatory comments made repeatedly by officials at the FCO over a number of months, behind our backs, represent nothing short of a depressing and catastrophic departure from those values and standards.
"It is appalling to see that whilst we were seeking justice for Harry as anybody would in these circumstances, these officials thought it was appropriate to engage in baseless keyboard warfare against us.
"I am more than happy to bear the brunt of any criticism myself where it is warranted as someone who is representing Harry’s family, but to attack a bereaved, grieving mother who has never put a foot wrong in the campaign is scandalous. "