Harry Dunn death: Boris Johnson says US diplomat's wife Anne Sacoolas must return to UK after hit-and-run crash

October 10, 2019 0 By HearthstoneYarns

Boris Johnson today appealed to a US diplomat’s wife to return to Britain after she was allegedly involved in a car crash in which a teenage motorcyclist died.

The Prime Minister also vowed to raise the case with Donald Trump if she does not come back.

Mr Johnson intervened in the growing trans-Atlantic row over the use of diplomatic immunity after the parents of Harry Dunn, 19, begged Anne Sacoolas to come back to the UK to assist the investigation into his death.

The teenager died in hospital after a collision on August 27 outside RAF Croughton, a US intelligence base in Northamptonshire.

The driver of the car involved, said to have been on the wrong side of the road at the time of the crash, was today named in reports Mrs Sacoolas, 42, who left Britain shortly afterwards.

The US State Department is understood to have refused to waive her diplomatic immunity, a decision criticised by Northamptonshire Police. During a visit to Watford today, Mr Johnson said: “Everybody’s sympathies are very much with the family of Harry Dunn and our condolences to them for their tragic loss.

“I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose.

“I hope that Anne Sacoolas will come back and will engage properly with the processes of laws as they are carried out in this country.”

Mr Johnson added: “I hope it will be resolved very shortly. If we can’t resolve it then of course I will be raising it myself personally with the White House.”

Harry’s family today called on President Trump to intervene. Speaking on Sky News, his mother Charlotte Charles added: “We are utterly shocked and appalled that somebody is allowed just to get on a plane and go home and avoid our justice system.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has contacted US ambassador Woody Johnson to “express the UK’s disappointment with their decision, and to urge the embassy to reconsider”.

The Evening Standard understands that Washington has not waived diplomatic immunity because of concerns over the global precedent it would set for its envoys and their families.

MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, said: “The US is very, very tough in protecting its diplomats.”

He added: “It does raise awful questions about the special relationship if those suspected of criminal activity simply use diplomatic identity to hide behind. That is the sort of behaviour of despots and dictatorships.”

Mrs Sacoolas and her husband, named in reports as Jonathan Sacoolas, are believed to have arrived in Britain three weeks before the accident. Her eldest child is said to have been with her at the time of the crash.

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Mrs Charles, 43, told Sky News that police have CCTV footage showing Mrs Sacoolas pulling out of the RAF base onto the wrong side of the road.

Northamptonshire chief constable Nick Adderley has also asked the US to drop immunity.

An embassy spokesman expressed “deepest sympathies” but said “immunity is rarely waived”.

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