Harry Dunn: Anne Sacoolas Charged Over Death After Leaving UK Under Diplomatic Immunity

The 42-year-old, who is married to a US intelligence officer, is accused of driving the car that hit and killed the Northamptonshire teenager.

US citizen Anne Sacoolas has been charged with causing the death by dangerous driving of British teenager 19-year-old Harry Dunn.

Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence officer, returned to the States after the car she was driving allegedly collided with the 19-year-old’s motorbike outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27.

The 42-year-old suspect sparked international controversy after claiming diplomatic immunity – despite the Foreign Office later saying her husband was not a registered diplomat in a recognised role.

Harry Dunn died after a crash near RAF Croughton in August.
Harry Dunn died after a crash near RAF Croughton in August.

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, families of diplomats are granted immunity from arrest or detention, with the sending state able to issue a waiver of that immunity.

But according to the CPS, the immunity does not apply to dependants of consular officials based outside of London.

The force eventually passed the completed file of evidence to the prosecution service on November 1 – with Wednesday’s charging decision coming just under seven weeks later.

The US State Department said it is “disappointed” at the decision to charge Sacoolas and said it fears “it will not bring a resolution closer”.

Meanwhile, her lawyer said Sacoolas would “not return voluntarily” to the UK.

“Anne is devastated by this tragic accident and continues to extend her deepest condolences to the family,” the statement read.

It continued: “This was an accident, and a criminal prosecution with a potential penalty of fourteen years imprisonment is simply not a proportionate response.

“We have been in contact with the UK authorities about ways in which Anne could assist with preventing accidents like this from happening in the future, as well as her desire to honour Harry’s memory.

“We will continue that dialogue in an effort to move forward from this terrible tragedy. But Anne will not return voluntarily to the United Kingdom to face a potential jail sentence for what was a terrible but unintentional accident.”

Sacoolas was twice interviewed by Northamptonshire Police – once on the day after the crash, and on another occasion by officers who travelled to the US.

Extradition between the US and the UK is governed by a treaty signed by both countries in 2003, and requests prepared by the CPS are sent by the Home Office to the requested state – in this case the US – through the diplomatic route.

Charlotte Charles, the mother of Harry Dunn, speaking to the media after leaving the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, in August
Charlotte Charles, the mother of Harry Dunn, speaking to the media after leaving the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, in August
PA Wire/PA Images

Harry’s death was the start of three months’ worth of separate legal battles for the teenager’s family – a judicial review against the Foreign Office, a referral of Northamptonshire Police to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), an investigation into the US administration’s handling of the case and a civil claim against Sacoolas herself.

Since the investigation into the teenager’s death was launched, the family have taken their fight to the US and even met President Donald Trump at the White House.

The meeting with Trump also sparked controversy after it later emerged that Sacoolas was sitting in the room next door ready to meet Harry’s parents – an offer the teenager’s family refused.

On Friday, Charles said the charging of Sacoolas “was a huge step” towards seeking the justice she had promised her son.

Speaking outside the CPS headquarters in London, she said: “We feel that we have made a huge step in the start of achieving the promise to Harry that we made.

“We made that promise to him the night we lost him to seek justice thinking it was going to be really easy.

“We had no idea it was going to be so hard and it would take so long but we feel it is a huge step towards that promise we made Harry.”

When asked for his response to the decision, Dunn’s father Tim said: “I’m still overwhelmed by the decision, I can’t really say. I’m a bit speechless at the minute, I’m in shock from the meeting.”

Tim Dunn was emotional as he spoke to reporters outside the CPS offices.

Reporters were also told that the extradition request for Sacoolas will be made before Christmas.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab welcomed the CPS decision, calling it an important step towards justice.

“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,” he added.


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