British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said if a U.S. citizen who used diplomatic immunity to leave the country despite being a suspect in the killing of a young man in a road collision doesn’t return, he will raise the matter directly with President Donald Trump.
The U.S. embassy in London confirmed that a man was killed after a Volvo SUV driven by “the spouse of a U.S. diplomat” collided with a motorcyclist. It was subsequently reported that the SUV had been driving on the wrong side of the road when it crested a hill, hitting the motorcycle head-on at speech, and the driver was named as 42-year-old U.S. citizen Anne Sacoolas. The victim was 19-year-old Harry Dunn.
Using diplomatic immunity Sacoolas was able to subsequently able to leave the country, despite having accepted liability for the crash at the scene, reports the Daily Telegraph. The British government is now petitioning the U.S. government to surrender that immunity, so she can be brought back to the United Kingdom for investigation and trial.
But if an appeal through diplomatic channels is not immediately successful, the Prime Minister said Monday, he would go directly to President Trump to discuss a resolution.
Talking to British television Monday, Mr Johnson said of the use of diplomatic immunity by the spouse of a diplomat to flee the law: “I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose, and I hope that Anne Sacoolas will come back and engage properly in the processes of law as they are carried out in this country, and this is a point we are raising today with the American ambassador in the UK and I hope it will be resolved very shortly… if we can’t resolve it then of course I will be raising it personally with the White House.”
Sacoolas, the wife of a U.S. “diplomat” who is a suspect in the killing of 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dun on August 27th, enjoys diplomatic immunity from prosecution through her husband, who works on an RAF base described as a “spy” base in the British media. Although only U.S. staff based at the London embassy normally get protection, a special deal between the United Kingdom and the United States dating to the 1990s extends that protection to those stationed at RAF Croughton, a listening and communications station in Northamptonshire.
It was reported in the British press in 2014 that the base was used by U.S. intelligence including the CIA and NSA to intercept and route communications from Europe and was embroiled in a scandal about the alleged eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal mobile phone.
London newspaper the Evening Standard reports the remarks of Harry Dunn’s mother, who pleaded for resolution over the killing of her son. She said: “Everyone loved him, we’re utterly broken inside and out, everything hurts day and night, it’s an effort to do anything, I ache from it, every limb, every internal organ hurts.”
“…We don’t know how we can start to grieve for him… We have nothing. No justice. We have nothing to put our minds at rest that she’s even remorseful.”