Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

UK charges US diplomat’s wife with causing death by dangerous driving

Anne Sacoolas is accused of hitting motorcyclist Harry Dunn in August and then fleeing the UK

The family of Harry Dunn have at times criticised the approach of the UK government. 
The family of Harry Dunn have at times criticised the approach of the UK government. 

The wife of a US diplomat who fled the UK after being involved in a fatal road accident has been charged by British authorities, who have begun extradition proceedings.

Motorcyclist Harry Dunn, 19, was killed in August when he was allegedly hit by a car driven by Anne Sacoolas, whose husband was stationed at a nearby military base. She left the country on the understanding that she has diplomatic immunity, which the US insisted she had at the time of the crash.

Britain’s prosecution service said Ms Sacoolas had been charged with causing death by dangerous driving “following a thorough review of the evidence available”.

“I welcome the taking of a charging decision which is an important step towards justice for Harry and towards solace for his family, but it is not the end,” said UK foreign minister Dominic Raab, who has been criticised by the Dunn family for his handling of the case.

“I hope that Anne Sacoolas will now realise the right thing to do is to come back to the UK and cooperate with the criminal justice process.”

But the case, which has involved President Donald Trump, risks inflaming tensions between the two countries with the US State Department warning the extradition request was unnecessary.

"It is the position of the United States government that a request to extradite an individual under these circumstances would be an egregious abuse,” the US said.

"The use of an extradition treaty to attempt to return the spouse of a former diplomat by force would establish an extraordinarily troubling precedent.

"We do not believe that the UK's charging decision is a helpful development,” it added.

The family’s spokesperson said it was “a big day” for the family, as he spoke outside the prosecution’s headquarters in London.

"A couple of months ago they were told by Northamptonshire Police that there was a less than one per cent chance of having anyone held accountable for this tragedy,” said Radd Seiger, who was surrounded by Harry Dunn’s family members.

"As you have seen we have moved heaven and earth both here in London and in Washington to try to get to this day."

Ms Sacoolas has said she is devastated by the death of Mr Dunn.

Updated: December 20, 2019 09:01 PM

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