Harry Dunn Case: US State Department says extradition bid highly inappropriate

Undated family handout photo of Harry Dunn Credit: Family/PA

The US Department of State has said the extradition request for the suspect charged in connection with the death of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn is highly inappropriate.

The Home Office said it submitted the request for Anne Sacoolas on Friday after she was charged with causing the 19-year-old’s death by dangerous driving last month.

Mr Dunn died after his motorbike crashed into a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.

The 42-year-old suspect, 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.

Now, the Home Office has said the matter is now “a decision for the US authorities” after formally submitting the extradition request on Friday.

But the US Department for State has said it has always been their position that Mrs Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity, stating that a request to extradite somebody with immunity would be an abuse.

A spokesman said the United States has a strong law enforcement relationship with the UK and, in particular, a strong track record of close cooperation on extradition matters but, under the circumstances of this case, they strongly believe that an extradition request would be highly inappropriate.

The spokesman added that they will continue to engage with the UK government and said they have been transparent on all matters, both legal and diplomatic.

After a meeting with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel, Mr Dunn’s family pressed repeatedly for a meeting with the Prime Minister.

On Friday, a letter seen by the PA news agency has shown that the family’s local MP, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, has written to Boris Johnson to request a face-to-face meeting.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom requests a face-to-face meeting for Harry Dunn’s family with the Prime Minister Credit: PA

In the letter, Ms Leadsom urges the Prime Minister to “hear at first hand what they have been through”, adding that a meeting would “go a long way to assure them that the case and their concerns are being taken seriously”.

The family have said they said they are “pleased” with the extradition request, adding that they feel it is a “huge step towards achieving justice for Harry”.

Confirming the request, a spokesman for the Home Office said: “Following the Crown Prosecution Service’s charging decision, the Home Office has sent an extradition request to the United States for Anne Sacoolas on charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

“This is now a decision for the US authorities.”

The family have initiated various legal proceedings against the Foreign Office, the US government and Mrs Sacoolas herself after their lawyers disputed the granting of diplomatic immunity.

Reacting to the extradition request on behalf of Mr Dunn’s family, spokesman Radd Seiger told the PA news agency: “I have learned that the extradition request for Anne Sacoolas has been delivered today to the United States Department of Justice in accordance with the requirements laid out in the treaty between the two countries and I have notified the parents.

“This will not of course bring Harry back, but in the circumstances of all that this family have been through, they are pleased with the development and feel that it is a huge step towards achieving justice for Harry and making good on the promise that they made to him on the night he died that they would secure justice for him.

“Despite the unwelcome public comments currently emanating from the US administration that Anne Sacoolas will never be returned, Harry’s parents, as victims, will simply look forward to the legal process unfolding, as it must now do, confident in the knowledge that the rule of law will be upheld.

“They will simply take things one step at a time and not get ahead of themselves. 

“However, no one, whether diplomat or otherwise, is above the law.”