US diplomat’s wife Anne Sacoolas fled the UK after allegedly killing 19-year-old Harry Dunn in August by running him over in her car This is the first picture of the diplomat’s wife who fled back to the US after allegedly killing a teenager while driving on the wrong side of a British road as Boris Johnson
US diplomat’s wife Anne Sacoolas fled the UK after allegedly killing 19-year-old Harry Dunn in August by running him over in her car
This is the first picture of the diplomat’s wife who fled back to the US after allegedly killing a teenager while driving on the wrong side of a British road as Boris Johnson promised to call Donald Trump and urge him to revoke her immunity.
The Prime Minister said today he would raise the death of Harry Dunn, 19, with the White House if necessary, saying: ‘I do not think it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose.’
Giving his condolences to Harry’s family he added: ‘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.
‘That’s a point that we’ve raised or are raising today with the American ambassador here in the UK and 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’.
It came at the first pictures of the suspect Mrs Sacoolas emerged including one of her grinning on her wedding day as she married her diplomat husband Jonathan in 2003.
Sacoolas was travelling on the wrong side of the road for 400 yards before hitting Harry Dunn, 19, head-on – and her own 12-year-old son was in the passenger seat, it was claimed today.
Harry, 19, suffered horrific multiple injuries in the August 27 collision outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire – a US intelligence hub in Britain where her husband Jonathan Sacoolas worked for just three weeks until the crash.
Anne Sacoolas (left, and pictured right on her wedding day in 2003) was travelling on the wrong side of the road for 400 yards before hitting him head-on, Harry Dunn’s heartbroken parents claimed today
The parents of Harry Dunn, Charlotte and Tim (pictured today, have called on Anne Sacoolas to come back to Britain to face the music after she allegedly knocked down and killed their son before claiming diplomatic immunity
Harry Dunn, 19, was killed on August 27 in a car crash in Northamptonshire allegedly caused by the diplomat’s wife
The crash took place in August outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire (pictured) – a US intelligence hub in Britain
The couple only arrived in Britain in early August and their three children were enrolled in the £19,000-a-year Winchester House private school in Brackley, where Harry’s father Tim Dunn is head of maintenance.
How was Anne Sacoolas able to flee back to the US as British police investigated?
Anne Sacoolas appears to have been able to use a loophole to claim diplomatic immunity after allegedly killing Harry Dunn in a crash involving her Volvo SUV.
It was believed that diplomatic immunity only applied to US officials – and their families – if they worked at the US Embassy in London.
But it appears that because of the work done at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire – a US intelligence hub in Britain – the same applies there.
Sky News claims an immunity deal between the UK and US there started in 1994.
As a result Northamptonshire Police were planning to get Anne Sacoolas to sign a ‘waiver of diplomatic immunity’ – but she, her husband and their children fled.
Harry’s family claim that Mrs Sacoolas had promised to work with police and admitted culpability.
His mother Charlotte said: ‘We’ve got no answers. We’ve got nothing from her to say that she’s remorseful We’re appalled, disgusted’.
They all fled home in September and have not returned to their $770,000 (£660k) home in Fairfax County, Virginia, having claimed diplomatic immunity, despite the suspect facing possible charges of causing death by dangerous driving and promising to help Northamptonshire Police with their investigation.
Harry’s bereft mother Charlotte Charles said today: ‘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 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’.
It came as Downing Street urged the US to ‘reconsider its decision’ and turn her over to the British authorities immediately.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: ‘The judicial process should be allowed to take place and we urge the US to reconsider’, adding Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will meet the victim’s family.
Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles told Sky News: ‘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.
‘We are not coping. We are literally getting through hour to hour every day. Harry always fought for what was right so we are honouring him by doing this.
‘We are trying to get some closure – all we want is to meet her and ask her to come back. It is not much to ask. We are a family in complete ruin. We are utterly broken inside and out.
‘We are utterly shocked and appalled that somebody is allowed just to get on a plane and go home and avoid our justice system’.
Harry’s father Tim works at the school where Sacoolas’ three children went for a few weeks before she fled, according to the Telegraph.
Mr Dunn says his son’s alleged killer had admitted culpability and promised to stay in the UK.
Mr Dunn said: ‘Our understanding is that she was compliant with police and admitted at the time she was in the wrong. We know from police she was going to stay in the country and committed to being here for three years. So to hear the news from police [that she fled] a few weeks after the funeral was devastating’.
Boris Johnson spoke about the case as he met mental health professionals at Watford General Hospital today
Mr Johnson says that he will tell Donald Trump (pictured on Friday) that diplomatic immunity should not be used in cases like these
Mrs Sacoolas has been asked to comment but she has not returned to her original US address.
23,000 in UK are given immunity
Foreign diplomats and their families are immune from prosecution in their host country under the 1961 Vienna Convention.
It means that 23,000 people in the UK who hold this status cannot automatically be hauled before the courts if they commit a crime.
However, when an envoy or a relative is accused of a serious offence the Foreign Office will ask their home country to waive immunity.
Usually, immunity only covers diplomats and families based in London. However, a special deal is in place which gives it to diplomats and relatives based at RAF Croughton. American officials are said to have turned down the waiver request in Harry Dunn’s case because the suspect’s husband is a spy and they want to protect his identity.
It is understood US authorities told the accused woman to get on a plane. In the past, the Foreign Office has expelled diplomats suspected of serious crimes.
Last year it emerged that an attache accused of two rapes was thrown out of Britain because his country would not waive his immunity. Other allegations included sexual assault against a diplomat from Algeria, blackmail (Egypt) and possession of a firearm (Cambodia).
Asked if she had a message for Mrs Sacoolas, Ms Charles said: ‘Just come home. Come back to us. Come back to the UK.
‘We’re not a horrible family. We’re a usual UK family that just need to put a face to what we have now as a name.
‘Talk to her, find out how she’s feeling. She’s got to be suffering as well – she’s a mum.
‘Without knowing who this person is properly, we can’t begin to try and start our grieving process.’
Speaking of the lengths the family would go to have closure from the incident, Ms Charles said: ‘If we have to we will go to Washington. We don’t want it to have to come to that, we don’t see why it should have to come to that… we just want to sit and talk with her.
‘We just don’t understand how you can just get on a plane and leave behind the devastation she has without even speaking to us or facing us, or an apology of any kind.’
The teenager’s father Tim Dunn said: ‘It’s appalling. You can’t have this precedent where just because you have this immunity you can do whatever.
‘It’s just basically saying ‘you do what you like and you’ll be OK’. That can’t be right.’
Describing what Harry was like as a person, Mr Dunn told Sky News: ‘He was like the centrepiece of the family really. He was always joking and laughing.
‘His love for life, it had come to all of us – he was just perfect.’
Asked what he understood about diplomatic immunity, Mr Dunn said: ‘We’ve looked into this, and the immunity for the diplomat is to keep them safe… not for something like this where they have hurt somebody.
‘I don’t see how that can be – how they can hurt somebody and just leave. It doesn’t make sense to me.
‘We appreciate there has to be immunity for certain things, but not immunity for wrong-doing.’
Harry’s bereft mother Charlotte Charles said on Sky News today: ‘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’.
Mr Dunn is pictured with his mother Charlotte Charles. Ms Charles said: ‘We would ask Boris Johnson himself, if he hasn’t already, to call President Trump and urge him to right this wrong’
The US embassy has refused to grant Northamptonshire Police an immunity waiver to interview her as a suspect.
US Embassy in London stand firm to say diplomatic immunity is ‘rarely waived’
The US embassy in London confirmed the incident had involved a vehicle driven by the spouse of a US diplomat who had departed the country, but added that diplomatic immunity was ‘rarely waived’.
In a statement, the embassy 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 given the global impact such decisions carry; immunity is rarely waived.
‘The US embassy has been and will continue to be in close contact with appropriate British officials.’
Referring to the diplomat’s wife, Mr Adderley said: ‘During the initial investigation we were given some assurances by the American authorities that she would co-operate fully with the police and … that she would not be leaving the community, and would not be leaving the country, and then the next minute we found out that, actually, she and her family had left.
‘So, it was really disappointing.’
As anger over the case intensified, Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles called on the Prime Minister to ‘get on the phone’ to President Trump.
Mrs Charles, 44, told the Daily Mail: ‘We would ask Boris Johnson himself, if he hasn’t already, to call President Trump and urge him to right this wrong. It’s inhumane what has happened to us. Please – I’m begging you. Please help us. We won’t be able to grieve and move on and try put the pieces of our shattered lives together until we get justice for Harry.’
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has called on the US ambassador to ‘reconsider’ the decision but it is understood so far his appeals have been refused.
The Government says it is doing ‘everything it can’ but Mrs Charles said she feared her son’s death would be ‘swept under the carpet’. The mother, who works in a GP’s surgery, said her family, including Harry’s twin brother Niall, were devastated and heartbroken but had been ‘totally deprived of the ability to grieve’.
Asked what message she would give Mrs Sacoolas, she said: ‘Please just come back. We want to talk to you and understand how you are feeling about what happened. Please come back and face the consequences of your actions. It will be better for us both.’
In a direct appeal to President Trump, she added: ‘Sit back and look back at the case. Consider not just the politics side of it, but the fact there is a completely broken family.’
She said for weeks after the crash on August 27 no one from the Ministry of Defence or RAF Croughton had been in contact. ‘We’ve just been left.’
Harry, a petrol station worker, was an avid motorcyclist with more than 50,000 miles under his belt. His family said he was a ‘highly experienced, safe and capable rider’ who was ‘riding perfectly safely…travelling on his own side of the road’ when he was in a collision with Mrs Sacoolas’s Volvo.
His family said they have been told Mrs Sacoolas had been travelling for 400 yards on the wrong side of the road. RAF Croughton is currently being leased to the US government, which is using it as a spying station called the Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre.
The car hit Harry (pictured on his bike) head-on and he died soon after in hospital after suffering multiple injuries
The car hit Harry (pictured when he was younger) head-on and he died soon after in hospital after suffering multiple injuries
Harry suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead in hospital. It is understood Mrs Sacoolas, a mother-of-three, had her eldest child with her at the time.
Chief Constable asks US ambassador to help bring Mrs Sacoolas back to Britain
A chief constable has written to the US ambassador calling for Mrs Sacoolas’ immunity to be revoked so she can be brought back the UK to face justice.
Nick Adderley, chief constable of Northamptonshire police, the force investigating the road crash, has asked Woody Johnson to help return the diplomat’s wife to Britain.
When Mr Adderley was asked on Twitter if Mrs Sacoolas is entitled to immunity, he replied, ‘The short answer is yes’ but then revealed he has written to the US ambassador ‘in the strongest terms’ asking for the immunity to be waived.
A file on the road crash is to be sent to prosecutors to decide if anyone involved in the incident should be charged with dangerous driving.
Mrs Charles, of Banbury, Oxfordshire, told how Harry’s father Tim Dunn received a call from a firefighter at the scene who was a family friend and recognised Harry. She added: ‘We didn’t get to see him before they lost him. His injuries were horrific. They had done all they could.’
Mrs Sacoolas, who lived in Northamptonshire with her husband and children, was spoken to the next day by police when she told officers she had no plans to leave the UK in the ‘near future’.
The Northamptonshire force said during the meeting ‘diplomatic immunity had been raised as an issue’. Officers then sought to obtain a waiver from the US embassy – which is required to allow for the arrest and formal interview of a suspect with diplomatic immunity.
But the force said it was later informed that the waiver had been refused and Mrs Sacoolas had left the country despite the fact that officers had been preparing to send a file to the Crown Prosecution Service over charges of causing death by dangerous driving. The family were informed the day after Harry’s funeral.
Government sources said Mrs Sacoolas and her family were ‘put on a plane’ within hours of learning she may face charges. Harry’s family believe she flew out quickly as her husband is a spy and US authorities wanted to ensure his identity was not compromised.
The US state department refused to answer questions on the case but said ‘immunity is rarely waived’. UK sources confirmed Mrs Sacoolas had ‘full diplomatic immunity’. Mrs Charles said, if necessary, the family would travel to the US to seek answers. They are also considering a civil claim for compensation.
Mr Dunn, who is separated from Harry’s mother, said: ‘I echo everything Charlotte says. The pain of our family’s loss is unbearable.’
Northamptonshire Chief Constable Nick Adderley said he and the county’s police commissioner Stephen Mold ‘have written in the strongest terms to the US embassy urging them to apply the diplomatic immunity waiver’.