Harry Dunn crash: Boris Johnson to raise issue with Trump if suspect who claimed immunity does not return to UK voluntarily

Diplomat’s wife suspected of fatally hitting British teen returned to US after incident

Corazon Miller@c0ra_z0n
Wednesday 09 October 2019 15:06
Harry Dunn's family ask Anne Sacoolas to come back to the UK so they can begin their 'grieving process'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped that a US diplomat’s wife wanted over a fatal car crash to return to Britain and that it was wrong for her to have used diplomatic immunity to leave the country.

The diplomat’s wife suspected of fatally hitting a British teen and returning to the United States without facing charges was revealed on Monday to be Anne Sacoolas.

“I hope that Anne Sacoolas will come back and will engage properly with the processes of law as they are carried out in this country,” Mr Johnson said in a television interview.

“If we can’t resolve it, then of course I will be raising it myself personally with the White House.”

The 42-year-old, whose identity was revealed by Sky News, is believed to have left the UK before she could be charged with causing the death of Harry Dunn.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab raised the issue with the US ambassador to London, Woody Johnson, on Monday. He will also discuss it with his counterpart Mike Pompeo later in the day, according to the government.

The 19-year-old died after his motorbike collided with a car, driving on the wrong side of the road, as it left a US intelligence base, the RAF Croughton, in Northamptonshire, on 27 August.

The woman thought to be behind the wheel was identified in the media as the wife of a US diplomat, before her identity was revealed this week.

Ms Sacoolas is now thought to be back in the United States after she claimed immunity, when it became clear charges would be laid.

Typically diplomatic immunity covers only diplomats and their dependents based in London.

However, Sky News revealed the special arrangement saw immunity apply to those diplomats and their families based at the intelligence centre in Northamptonshire.

His family is now appealing for the woman to return to face investigation, after it was revealed she left the country when it became clear she would be facing criminal charges.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, said: “The police have the CCTV footage showing that she pulled out of the RAF base on to the wrong side of the road. Harry had no chance.

“She travelled on 350 to 400 yards on the wrong side of the road. It was a head-on collision – we later lost him in hospital.”

Ms Charles said the family did not know how to start grieving properly without justice being served.

“Everyone loved him, we’re utterly broken inside and out, everything hurts day and night, it’s an effort to do anything, I ache from it, every limb, every internal organ hurts.

A crowd-funding campaign, “Justice4Harry” has so far raised more than £5,000 to help the family.

Meanwhile, police chiefs have written to the US embassy in London to demand immunity is waived.

Nick Adderley, chief constable for Northamptonshire Police, said US authorities had been appealed to in “the strongest terms” to apply a waiver and “allow the justice process to take place”.

When asked whether the UK wants the US to hand over the diplomat’s wife, Mr Johnson’s official spokesman had earlier said: “The details of this case are extremely concerning and the foreign secretary has discussed it with the US ambassador.

“The justice process should be allowed to take place and we urge the US to reconsider their decision. The prime minister offers his condolences to the Dunn family. This was a tragic set of events which no family should have to experience.”

A US Embassy spokesman has said questions over any waiver of immunity in the case of the wife of a US diplomat who left the UK after becoming a suspect in a fatal road crash would be “considered carefully”.

The embassy spokesman said: “We express our deepest sympathies and offer condolences to the family of the deceased in this tragic traffic accident.

“Any questions regarding a waiver of the immunity with regard to our diplomats and their family members overseas in a case like this receive intense attention at senior levels and are considered carefully ... immunity is rarely waived.

“The US Embassy has been and will continue to be in close contact with appropriate British officials.”

Additional reporting by PA