‘Virtual trial’ of US diplomat’s wife over Harry Dunn death possible, Dominic Raab says


The wife of a US diplomat could face a “virtual trial” over the death of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn, the foreign secretary has suggested.

Washington is continuing to block the extradition of Anne Sacoolas after the fatal road incident in August 2019 outside a US military base in Northamptonshire, but Dominic Raab pointed to the possibility of a different breakthrough.

It comes after Boris Johnson said the US president, Joe Biden, was “actively engaged” and “extremely sympathetic” about the case, following their face-to-face meeting at the G7 summit in Cornwall.

Mr Raab said: “The US has not agreed to the extradition, but the path is clear for the legal authorities in the UK to approach Anne Sacoolas’s lawyers – without any problem from the US government – to see whether some kind of virtual trial or process could allow some accountability and some solace and some justice for the Dunn family.

“I would like to see some accountability. I think the family deserve no less,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Mr Dunn died, aged 19, when Ms Sacoolas’s car crashed into his motorbike outside RAF Croughton, the US base where she worked.

There was an outcry when she was allowed to leave the UK nine days after the death, when diplomatic immunity was asserted on her behalf.

Ms Sacoolas, who has since been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, has refused to return to the UK, but has suggested she is willing to serve a civil penalty in her home country.

Speaking after the two leaders discussed the issue, Mr Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, expressed gratitude that it was “being taken so seriously as to be raised on the eve of the G7 meeting with so many worldwide crises going on”.

“We very much hope that President Biden takes a different view to the previous administration, given his deeply personal connection to the case, having suffered loss in similar circumstances,” she said.

Mr Biden’s first wife and daughter were killed in a road crash in 1972, while his sons, Beau and Hunter, survived.

The Dunn family has challenged the diplomatic immunity asserted on Ms Sacoolas’s behalf, in a case that is expected to go before the Court of Appeal next year.

Ms Charles and Mr Dunn’s father, Tim Dunn, have also brought a civil claim against Ms Sacoolas and her husband in the US state of Virginia.

After discussing the controversy with Mr Biden, Mr Johnson said: “As you know, he has his own personal reasons for feeling very deeply about the issue.

“And he was extremely sympathetic, but this is not something that either government can control very easily because there are legal processes that are still going on.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.