The British Government did not know that Harry Dunn's alleged killer was employed by US intelligence, Boris Johnson's spokesman has said. UK auth
The British Government did not know that Harry Dunn’s alleged killer was employed by US intelligence, Boris Johnson’s spokesman has said.
UK authorities have been urged to re-investigate whether Anne Sacoolas, 43, had diplomatic immunity when she and her husband Jonathan ‘fled’ the country in 2019.
The Alexandria district court in Virginia was told Mrs Sacoolas was ’employed by an intelligence agency in the US’ at the time of the fatal road crash that killed 19-year-old Mr Dunn.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters ‘we don’t comment on intelligence matters’, but added: ‘She was notified to the UK Government by the US as a spouse with no official role.’
UK authorities have been urged to re-investigate whether Anne Sacoolas (pictured at a gas station in Virginia after returning home following the crash), 43, actually had diplomatic immunity when she and her husband Jonathan ‘fled’ the country in 2019
Mr Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019
Mr Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, said ‘there is still time’ for both governments to find a resolution to the case despite the latest developments.
The teenager was killed after a car crashed into his motorbike outside US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019.
Commenting on the latest developments, the Prime Minister’s spokesman added: ‘I would emphasise that our position on this case remains unchanged, we have consistently called for her diplomatic immunity to be waived and believe that the US refusal to extradite her amounts to a denial of justice.’
Meanwhile, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy has urged Dominic Raab to ‘explain himself’ in the House of Commons on Friday.
She said: ‘As an employee at RAF Croughton, Anne Sacoolas would not have been entitled to immunity from prosecution.
‘Dominic Raab told MPs that she was entitled to protection as the spouse of an employee, but new information provided by her lawyer clearly indicates that she wasn’t.
‘Did the Foreign Secretary simply accept the US embassy’s account without asking any of the right questions on behalf of a UK citizen, or has he misled the House?
‘After almost 18 months of fighting for justice for their son, Harry’s family deserve the truth. Dominic Raab must come before MPs tomorrow and explain himself.’
The revelations came out during Sacoolas’s application to dismiss a civil claim for damages against her made by the Dunn family on Wednesday.
Mr and Mrs Sacoolas had to leave the UK due to ‘issues of security’ three weeks after the crash, the court heard.
Mr Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, told the PA news agency ‘there is still time’ for both governments to find a resolution to the case despite the latest developments. Pictured, Mr Dunn with his mother
The suspect’s barrister, John McGavin, told the court he could not ‘completely candidly’ explain why the Sacoolas family left the UK – adding: ‘I know the answer, but I cannot disclose it.’
Family spokesman Radd Seiger told the PA news agency UK authorities must ‘urgently investigate whether she had diplomatic immunity’ at the time of the incident.
Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf by the US Government and she was able to return home around three weeks later.
She was charged with causing the teenager’s death by dangerous driving, but a Home Office extradition request was rejected by the US State Department in January last year.
Both the Donald Trump administration and new President Joe Biden’s administration have described that decision as ‘final’.
On Wednesday, the court heard that one of the reasons Sacoolas had not returned to the UK was a ‘fear’ that because of the ‘media attention, she would not have a fair trial’.
Mr McGavin said the suspect was ‘currently apologetic’ and has ‘accepted responsibility for the accident’.
The Dunn family’s barrister in the US, Agniezska Fryzsman, told the court the British Government had written a letter to the court to ‘endorse’ their claim.
Anne Sacoolas and her husband Jonathan Sacoolas worked for the US State Department and they ‘fled’ the UK due to ‘issues of security’ after the crash
Mrs Charles told PA: ‘We did our level best before the campaign went public to try and deal with this amicably and publicly and we came up against a brick wall.
‘We’ve been put through hell over the last 18 months, totally needlessly.
‘That said, there is still time for both governments to come forward and to work with us to ensure that there is justice for my son.
‘We remain absolutely open to holding talks with officials in London and Washington to find a path forward.’
The admission from Sacoolas’s own barrister about her employment at the time of the crash has raised the question of the diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf.
Under the agreements at RAF Croughton dating back to 1995, anyone working at the base from the US as part of the ‘administrative and technical staff’ would have their immunity pre-waived, meaning they would not be immune from criminal jurisdiction.
Mr Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, said she and Tim Dunn, Harry’s father, (pictured together) wanted to sit down with Sacoolas once the prosecution was over to ‘rebuild our shattered lives’
In a short statement issued after the hearing, Mr Seiger told PA: ‘Given the admission in open court by Mrs Sacoolas’s counsel that she was employed by US intelligence services at the time of the crash, the UK authorities must now urgently reinvestigate whether she had diplomatic immunity.
‘They have to investigate given that employees had their immunity pre-waived under the 1995 RAF Croughton legal agreement.’
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: ‘The UK High Court has found that Anne Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity while in the country under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.’
The case was adjourned until a further hearing at the same court on February 17.