US Air Force intervenes after servicewoman involved in fatal UK crash

It has retained Mikayla Hayes’s passport and she cannot leave England and Wales

Mikayla Hayes leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court, London, on Wednesday. PA
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The US Air Force has asserted jurisdiction in the case of a servicewoman charged in the UK with causing the death of a motorcyclist by careless driving in Norfolk, a court has heard.

Airman first class Mikayla Hayes, 23, who is based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, was released on conditional bail on Wednesday after appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court over the death of Matthew Day.

Day, 33, died of his injuries after a red Honda Accord collided with the Yamaha motorbike he was riding in the village of Southery, near Downham Market, last Friday.

The incident happened in the constituency of foreign secretary and Conservative leadership hopeful Liz Truss.

Bouquets of flowers were left at the scene after the incident.

Ms Hayes, wearing red trousers and a white jumper, spoke only to confirm her name, date of birth and address as she appeared in the dock to face a single charge of causing death by careless driving.

Prosecutor Caroline Gardner said the US Air Force has served the Crown Prosecution Service with a certificate under the 1952 Visiting Forces Act, which asserts jurisdiction.

It is understood that if jurisdiction were granted, Ms Hayes could face a US military court.

But the prosecution will say she was not on duty or acting in the course of her duty at the time of the incident, which is said to have taken place as she was driving home from the base.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram adjourned the case to November 11 for legal argument over the issue.

“RAF Lakenheath is aware of the fatality resulting from a vehicular accident involving a US service member," said Maj Keavy Rake, the US Air Force chief of public affairs at RAF Lakenheath.

“We express our deepest, most sincere condolences to the family of the deceased.

“We are and will remain in full co-operation with the Norfolk authorities during the investigation.”

Norfolk Police said officers were called to the B1160 Lynn Road at its junction with Ferry Bank shortly after 4pm last Friday to the collision.

Ms Hayes was arrested, charged and remanded in custody after a hearing at Norfolk Magistrates’ Court last week.

But she was granted bail by Mr Ikram on Wednesday with conditions of residence at her home in Downham Market and attendance at King’s Lynn police station every Saturday.

Ms Hayes’s passport is to be retained by the US Air Force. She is not allowed to apply for any documents for international travel and she cannot leave England and Wales.

The Home Office said it could not comment on the legal proceedings.

Updated: August 31, 2022, 9:58 PM