Revealed: US diplomat’s wife, 42, who ‘ran over and killed’ British teen outside RAF base before fleeing and claiming diplomatic immunity is named
- Anne Sacoolas left the UK despite facing possible charges of causing death by dangerous driving
- Harry Dunn, 19, was killed in August near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire
- US embassy has since refused to grant a waiver to interview her as a suspect
Published: 22:17 BST, 6 October 2019 | Updated: 22:39 BST, 6 October 2019
The wife of a US diplomat who fatally hit a British teenager and left the country is Anne Sacoolas, it has been revealed.
Mrs Sacoolas, 42, claimed diplomatic immunity and left the UK for America despite facing possible charges of causing death by dangerous driving.
Harry Dunn, 19, suffered horrific multiple injuries in the collision outside RAF Croughton – a US intelligence hub in Britain.
Harry Dunn, 19, was killed on August 27 in a car crash near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire
The US embassy has refused to grant Northamptonshire Police a waiver to interview her as a suspect.
As anger over the actions 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.’
Sky have learned in early 1994 the US and UK governments struck a deal that all those working in RAF Croughton and their families would have diplomatic protection.
The broadcaster also report that Mrs Sacoolas has not returned to her home in the US.
Sky also say that very soon after the crash Mrs Sacoolas made it known that she had diplomatic immunity but police had the impression she was willing to cooperate so they applied to get the immunity waived. However, they found that she had left.
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’
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).
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, 44, 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 the American woman, 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 collision with the woman’s Volvo.
His family said they have been told the woman had been travelling for 400 yards on the wrong side of the road. RAF Croughton is currently being leased by the US government, which is using it as a spying station called the Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre.
Emergency services were called but Harry had suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead in hospital. It is understood the American woman, a mother-of-three, had her eldest child in the car with her at the time.
The car hit Harry head-on and he died soon after in hospital after suffering multiple injuries
Harry’s mother, Charlotte Charles, (left with his father Tim) added: 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’
Mrs Charles, 44, 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.’ The American woman, 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.
His family said Mr Dunn 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 collision with the woman’s Volvo
But the force said it was later informed that the waiver had been refused and the woman 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 the driver and her family were ‘put on a plane’ within hours of learning she may face charges. Harry’s family believe she was spirited out of the UK quickly as her husband is a spy and because 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 the woman had ‘full diplomatic immunity’.
The car hit Harry (pictured when he was younger) head-on and he died soon after in hospital after suffering multiple injuries
Tributes have been left for Harry following the crash near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27
Mrs Charles said, if necessary, the family would travel to the US to seek answers. They are also considering a civil claim for compensation against the state department or from the insurers of the woman’s vehicle.
Mr Dunn, who is separated from Harry’s mother, said: ‘I echo everything Charlotte says. The pain of our family’s loss is unbearable.’
Defence expert Stephen Lanyard, a retired US colonel, said: ‘Once a claim of diplomatic immunity is made and a person has left the country there is very little that can be done to bring them back.’