Downing Street backs Harry Dunn’s parents in extradition plea to Donald Trump

Downing Street has backed Harry Dunn’s parents in their plea to US President Donald Trump to review the decision to block an extradition request for their son’s alleged killer.

The letter, addressed to Mr Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, comes after the PA news agency reported that lawyers acting on behalf of 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas had opened up a dialogue with the Foreign Office earlier this year to work towards a “resolution”.

Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn urged Mr Trump and Mr Pompeo to reconsider the decision to refuse the Home Office’s request to extradite Mrs Sacoolas, saying that the UK justice system has “fairness at its heart”.

Harry Dunn death
Harry Dunn death

Asked if the UK backed the Dunns’ efforts to lobby the US president, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “Yes, we are very clear that we want Harry’s family to get the justice they deserve.”

Ms Charles and Mr Dunn met Mr Trump at the White House six months ago, where he had hoped they would meet the suspect, who was waiting in an adjacent room, but they declined to see her.

They took their campaign for justice to the US in October, two months after their 19-year-old son was killed when his motorbike collided with a car outside a US military base in Northamptonshire.

Mrs Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence official based at RAF Croughton, claimed diplomatic immunity following the crash and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.

She was charged with causing the death by dangerous driving of Mr Dunn in December but an extradition request was rejected by Mr Pompeo in January.

The Foreign Office has since come under fire after documents revealed that a senior diplomat sent a text message to their US Embassy counterpart saying there was “not much mileage” in Mrs Sacoolas and her family staying in the UK, adding: “I think you should feel able to put them on the next flight out.”

Responding to the criticism, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Foreign Office have set out, from the outset, that they believe Harry’s family deserve justice and they have been working hard to help them secure it.”

Urging Mr Trump to reconsider the decision to refuse the extradition request, the teenager’s parents said: “It is now six months since we met with you, Mr President, in the Oval Office. We hope you are as well as can be in the current difficult circumstances.

To their eternal credit, #HarryDunn’s parents continue to engage with others to seek a speedy resolution to the wholly unnecessary dispute that has arisen following Harry’s passing. This letter to @realDonaldTrump and @SecPompeo was delivered to them on Tuesday.

— Radd Seiger (@RaddSeiger) April 30, 2020

“When we parted last October, you kindly mentioned that you would take a different look at the case and we have not heard from you since.

“Of course, since then, the UK have sought Mrs Sacoolas’ extradition, which has been rejected by Secretary Pompeo.

“We note from the British press that Mrs Sacoolas’ lawyer has reached out to the Foreign Office here in London and that she is attempting to seek a resolution to the problem. We understand that Mrs Sacoolas must be suffering too.

“The purpose of this letter is to ask you please to review your decision to not allow her to return to face the justice system, which, as you know, has fairness at its heart.

“As we are sure you can appreciate, it is really the only way forward in the interests of both families and of relations between our two nations, which have suffered as a result of the decision.

“If you allow her to return, we are sure only good can come from it. Otherwise, the problem will never go away. No-one is above the law.”

PA understands that the letter has been acknowledged by a senior official at the White House.