Boris Johnson asks Donald Trump to drop immunity for US hit-and-run suspect
Boris Johnson has spoken to President Donald Trump to personally ask him to “reconsider” granting immunity to an American woman suspected of being involved in the death of Harry Dunn.
Downing Street confirmed the Prime Minister broached the subject in a telephone conversation with the US President on Wednesday, asking for British police to be allowed to pursue the young motorcyclist’s death.
It comes after Harry’s family said a meeting with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab over the death of their son felt like a “publicity stunt”.
They have since revealed they plan to start civil action against the suspect in the case.
Harry, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car on August 27.
The suspect, 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas, reportedly married to a US intelligence official, was granted diplomatic immunity following the crash.
The car was thought to have been driving on the wrong side of the road after leaving RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire – a military base used by the US Air Force.
Number 10 said Mr Trump was “fully aware of the case” and was “deeply saddened” after hearing of it.
The case has picked up attention in the American media, with Fox News, known to be the Republican White House incumbent’s news channel of choice, reporting on the controversy surrounding the suspect’s immunity.
“The two leaders discussed the tragic death of Harry Dunn,” said a Downing Street spokesman.
“The Prime Minister urged the President to reconsider the US position so the individual involved can return to the UK, co-operate with police and allow Harry’s family to receive justice.
“The President said he was fully aware of the case and deeply saddened by what has happened, and he expressed his condolences to Harry’s parents.
“The leaders agreed to work together to find a way forward as soon as possible.”
Foreign Secretary Mr Raab met Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles and father Tim Dunn on Wednesday afternoon after having talks with US Ambassador Woody Johnson on Tuesday.
Speaking after the meeting, Harry’s mother told reporters she felt “let down by both governments”.
Ms Charles told reporters: “I can’t really see the point as to why we were invited to see Dominic Raab. We are no further forward than where we were this time last week.
“Part of me is feeling like it was just a publicity stunt on the UK Government side to show they are trying to help.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Raab said he shared the “frustration” felt by the family and vowed to continue to “press the US authorities” into co-operating with the UK investigation.
“I share the frustration of Harry’s mother and father,” said the Secretary of State.
“They have lost their son and the justice process is not being allowed to properly run its course.
“The Prime Minster has spoken to President Trump this evening about the case and made clear that what has happened is not acceptable.
“We are continuing to press the US authorities for their co-operation to ensure the police can pursue this case unimpeded and to allow Harry’s family to get justice.”
The family’s lawyer and spokesman Radd Seiger said the family would be willing to talk with Mr Trump about the issue and confirmed they plan to travel to the States.
“Meet us. Let’s have a chat. Nobody wants to litigate,” he said.
Mr Seiger said they were engaging lawyers to take a civil case against Mrs Sacoolas in America.
“Our position is that she doesn’t have immunity and that waivers are always granted in these circumstances,” Mr Seiger told reporters in Westminster.
“Now we can disclose to you we have brought lawyers on board … We are going to Washington soon to help us get that justice for Harry.”
Asked about his son by reporters, Mr Dunn became emotional and was supported by his family as he called him a “special boy”.
He said: “He didn’t have a bad bone in his body, he just loved his family, he just loved everything.
“He was a special boy and I miss him like mad.”
Northamptonshire Police have also asked the US to consider waiving the immunity.
Prior to meeting the US Ambassador, Mr Raab raised the case in a telephone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.