UK Government ‘unaware’ Harry Dunn’s alleged killer worked in intelligence

Josh Payne, PA
Undated family handout file photo of Harry Dunn. (PA)

Undated family handout file photo of Harry Dunn. (PA)

The UK Government has insisted it was unaware Harry Dunn’s alleged killer was employed by a US intelligence agency at the time of the road crash that killed him.

Alexandria district court in Virginia was told on Wednesday that suspect Anne Sacoolas and her husband Jonathan Sacoolas worked for the US State Department and “fled” the UK due to “issues of security”.

Speaking on Thursday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters “we don’t comment on intelligence matters”, but added: “She was notified to the UK Government by the US as a spouse with no official role.”

Mr Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, told the PA news agency “there is still time” for both governments to find a resolution to the case despite the latest developments.

Charlotte Charles
Charlotte Charles (Jacob King/PA)

The 19-year-old was killed in a crash outside US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019.

Sacoolas, 43, was able to return to her home country after the US government asserted diplomatic immunity on her behalf.

She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving but an extradition request was rejected by the State Department in January last year.

Commenting on the latest developments, the Prime Minister’s spokesman added: “I would emphasise that our position on this case remains unchanged, we have consistently called for her diplomatic immunity to be waived and believe that the US refusal to extradite her amounts to a denial of justice.”

The revelations about Sacoolas’s employment came out during an application to dismiss a civil claim for damages against her made by the Dunn family on Wednesday.

The suspect’s lawyer, John McGavin, told the court he could not “completely candidly” explain why the Sacoolas family left the UK, adding: “I know the answer, but I cannot disclose it.”

The court heard one of the reasons she had not returned to the UK was a “fear” that because of the “media attention, she would not have a fair trial”.

Mr McGavin said she was “currently apologetic” and has “accepted responsibility for the accident”.

Mrs Charles told PA: “We did our level best before the campaign went public to try and deal with this amicably and publicly and we came up against a brick wall.

“We’ve been put through hell over the last 18 months, totally needlessly.

“That said, there is still time for both governments to come forward and to work with us to ensure that there is justice for my son.

“We remain absolutely open to holding talks with officials in London and Washington to find a path forward.”

The claim from Sacoolas’s barrister about her employment at the time of the crash has raised questions about the diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf.

Under agreements at RAF Croughton dating back to 1995, anyone working at the base from the US as part of “administrative and technical staff” would have immunity pre-waived, meaning they would not be immune from criminal jurisdiction.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “The UK High Court has found that Anne Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity while in the country under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”

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