Harry Dunn case: PM says likelihood of US suspect returning to UK ‘very low’
The Prime Minister has said the chances of a return to the UK for the US suspect charged in connection with the death of teenager Harry Dunn are “very low”.
The Home Office said it submitted an extradition request for Anne Sacoolas on Friday after she was charged with causing the 19-year-old’s death by dangerous driving last month.
Despite saying it was “right that we made the appeal for extradition”, Boris Johnson told BBC Breakfast that sending Mrs Sacoolas back to face justice was “not what (the US) do”.
Mr Dunn died after his motorbike crashed into a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.
Mrs Sacoolas, 42, the wife of a US intelligence official, claimed diplomatic immunity after the collision and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.
The US State Department has said the extradition request for Mrs Sacoolas is highly inappropriate and would be an abuse.
But the Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger said Boris Johnson’s views on the prospects of an extradition are “diametrically opposed” to the family’s.
Speaking about the extradition request on Tuesday, the Prime Minister told BBC Breakfast: “I think that it’s right that we made the appeal for extradition.”
He added: “I think the chances of America actually responding by sending Anne Sacoolas to this country are very low. That’s not what they do.”
Reacting to Mr Johnson’s comments from Denver in the US, the spokesman for the Dunn family, Radd Seiger, told the PA news agency: “I do not know what is in the Prime Minister’s mind in making those comments because the parents and I have not yet had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him but we expect to do so within the next few days.
“Certainly, if he is basing those comments on what is currently emanating from Washington he may well be right.
“However, the extradition request has now been delivered and therefore the legal process has commenced – Mr Johnson’s officials have been working extremely hard over the last few months to prepare a thorough and diligent case.”
Mr Seiger continued: “Harry’s family will as always take things one step at a time and will not prejudge the outcome of the process, but as I have stated many times publicly, my analysis of the prospects of success are diametrically opposed to Mr Johnson’s given my detailed discussions with officials both in London and Washington.
“Should the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ultimately make the political decision not to return her, that will not be the end of the matter.
“But the fact that they are prejudging the request without having even read it shows where we are with the current administration in terms of their approach to upholding the rule of law and right versus wrong.”
Commenting on what would happen if an extradition request was blocked, Mr Seiger told PA: “If that is what transpires, the campaign will swing into action deploying a number of measures, including blockading the bases, and we will sit down with British officials to discuss what they will do, not only on Harry’s family’s behalf, but the whole nation’s to ensure that justice is done and that no one ever suffers the same fate as Harry.
“Clearly, not only are we not safe around the bases, but none of us will get justice should the worst happen.
“That is not a sustainable position and I have made that crystal clear to the Government and the point has been taken on board.
“But we will take one step at a time and not get ahead of ourselves. Anne Sacoolas will be coming back to the UK to face justice. Unlike the Prime Minister, there is no doubt in my mind.”