Harry Dunn's mother calls for Dominic Raab to 'reevaluate position' after questions raised over immunity

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery

Harry Dunn's mother has said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab should "reevaluate his position" after questions have been raised over the diplomatic immunity of a US citizen involved in the road crash that killed her son.

Charlotte Charles hit out at the UK Foreign Office after it emerged that the government was unaware that Anne Sacoolas was employed by a US intelligence agency at the time of the crash.

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

But 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, 19, was killed after a car crashed into his motorbike outside the US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019.

Sacoolas, 43, had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf by the US Government and she was able to return home around three weeks later.

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.

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 and there are calls for an independent inquiry in parliament.

Responding to the new development, Ms Charles said: "I'll never trust any of them again. As far as I'm concerned, he should completely reevaluate the position he holds."

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy has urged Mr Raab to “explain himself” over the latest Harry Dunn developments in the House of Commons on Friday.

She said: “As an employee at RAF Croughton, Anne Sacoolas would not have been entitled to immunity from prosecution. Dominic Raab told MPs that she was entitled to protection as the spouse of an employee, but new information provided by her lawyer clearly indicates that she wasn’t.

“Did the Foreign Secretary simply accept the US embassy’s account without asking any of the right questions on behalf of a UK citizen, or has he misled the House?

“After almost 18 months of fighting for justice for their son, Harry’s family deserve the truth.

“Dominic Raab must come before MPs tomorrow and explain himself.”

Mr Dunn’s mother, insisted “there is still time” for both governments to find a resolution to the case despite the latest developments.

"It's beyond belief, the amount of times we've met with them," she said.

"We should have been properly grieving in those first few months, we should have been given the chance. We deserve the truth.

"Who the hell have we got running the country?"

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

Both the Donald Trump administration and new President Joe Biden’s officials have described that decision as “final”.

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.”

Anne Sacoolas has 'accepted responsibility' for the incident, her lawyer said.

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”.

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.”