Police chiefs urge US embassy to waive immunity after fatal crash
Police chiefs have written to the US embassy in London to demand immunity is waived for an American diplomat’s wife who is a suspect in relation to a fatal road crash.
Nick Adderley, chief constable for Northamptonshire Police, said US authorities had been appealed to in “the strongest terms” to apply a waiver and “allow the justice process to take place”.
His force is leading investigations into a collision that killed 19-year-old Harry Dunn, of Charlton, Banbury, on August 27.
Police said the teenager died after his motorbike collided with a car close to RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, a military base used by the US Air Force.
A 42-year-old woman being treated as a suspect in relation to the crash has left the UK, despite telling officers she did not plan to do so.
The US embassy confirmed the incident had involved a vehicle driven by the spouse of a US diplomat assigned to UK who had departed the country, adding that diplomatic immunity was “rarely waived”.
Responding to a question on Twitter on Sunday, Mr Adderley confirmed that he and Stephen Mold, Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, had contacted the embassy for immunity to be waived.
Speaking to ITV News, Mr Dunn’s parents said they had been “trapped in a living nightmare” since their son’s death.
His mother Charlotte Charles said they were prepared to travel to the US to seek a resolution to their situation.
She told ITV News: “We’re not going to be swept under the carpet.
“Harry always fought for what he believed in… we’re going to carry on that.”
She added: “We’ll go as far as we need to go, to get justice for our boy and to do our best to stop another family suffering”.
The teenager’s father Tim Dunn said: “We can’t let our son die and then nothing be answered for.”
Under 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.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, the immunity does not apply to dependants of consular officials based outside of London.
However, it is understood that some diplomatic staff and their spouses located outside the capital can get that immunity.
Radd Seiger, a spokesman for Mr Dunn’s family, said British authorities had asked their US counterparts for immunity to be waived “several times”.
He said: “They’ve been told the answer is no, we’ve learnt via the police. The answer has come back as no.”
Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said Mr Dunn’s family “have our absolute assurance that we’re going to do everything we can to resolve this.
“We want the police to be able to continue their enquiries and for whatever actions they deem fit to be to take place and for justice to be done.”
Business Secretary and South Northamptonshire Tory MP Andrea Leadsom has already met with Mr Dunn’s family and said they are “totally heartbroken”.
She added: “We have to get proper justice for Harry and closure for his family.”
It is understood that Mr Dunn’s family are to meet with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in the coming days.