Donald Trump has said Boris Johnson asked him to set up a meeting between Harry Dunn’s family and the suspect in the case of the 19-year-old’s death.
Speaking at the White House on Wednesday, the US president said he thought the teenager’s parents were ready to meet Anne Sacoolas, 42, after she was allegedly involved in the crash that killed Dunn on 27 August.
Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, were invited to meet Trump on Tuesday and were then told Sacoolas was in the next room, but the pair declined to see her.
Sacoolas has said she was disappointed a meeting did not take place.
A statement issued by Sacoolas’s lawyer, Amy Jeffress, said: “We are trying to handle the matter privately and look forward to hearing from the family or their representatives. Anne accepted the invitation to the White House with the hope that the family would meet and was disappointed.”
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The prime minister and president spoke last Wednesday. The prime minister asked the president to do all he could to help resolve this tragic issue. The president agreed to work on trying to find a way forward.”
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday, Trump said: “My meeting with the family yesterday was beautiful in a certain way. They did not want to meet the person in question but we had a very good meeting – they are very nice people.
“The meeting took place right here at around six o’clock last night and it was very sad, to be honest. She lost, and they lost, her son. I believe it [the car] was going down the wrong way and that happens in Europe – you go to Europe and the roads are opposite and it’s very tough if you’re from the United States.
“That decision to make a right turn when you’re supposed to make a left turn when the roads are opposite and she said that’s what happened. It happens to a lot of people, by the way – but she said that’s what happened.
“She was in the room right out there – we met right here and I offered to bring the person in question in and they weren’t ready for it – I did offer.
“Boris, he asked me if I’d do that and I did it. Unfortunately they wanted to meet with her and unfortunately when we had everybody together they decided not to meet – perhaps they had lawyers involved at that time – I don’t know. The people were lovely, they were very nice and desperately sad.”
He added: “I thought they were, based on what I saw, ready to meet – but now they say they only want to meet when they are in the UK and that’ll be up to them. The family and I expressed our condolences on behalf of our country.”
Speaking after the meeting on Tuesday, the family’s spokesman, Radd Seiger, said it had been the president’s intention for the family to meet Sacoolas in the Oval Office in front of several photographers, “in what was obviously designed to be a press call”.
He added: “Harry’s parents remain committed to pursuing a solution to the dispute and need one to happen quickly for the sake of their health. Harry’s parents declined any such meeting.”
Seiger also said on the Justice4Harry GoFundMe page: “It struck us that this meeting was hastily arranged by nincompoops on the run. The family remain open to the possibility of meeting Mrs Sacoolas one day in the future but in a neutral and appropriately controlled environment.”