Mikayla Hayes: US Air Force servicewoman from RAF Lakenheath charged with killing biker in Norfolk

Mikayla Hayes arriving at court on Wednesday.
Credit: PA
Mikayla Hayes arriving at Westminster Magistrates' Court. Credit: PA

A woman charged with causing the death of a motorcyclist by careless driving is a serving member of the US Air Force, a court has heard.

Westminster Magistrates Court was told that the air force has asserted jurisdiction in the prosecution of Airman first class Mikayla Hayes, 23, who is based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

She was released on conditional bail on Wednesday after appearing in court over the death of Matthew Day, 33.

He died of his injuries after a red Honda Accord car collided with the Yamaha motorbike he was riding in the village of Southery, near Downham Market in Norfolk, last Friday.

The incident happened in the constituency of Foreign Secretary and Conservative leadership hopeful Liz Truss.

Hayes, wearing red trousers and a white sweater, spoke only to confirm her name, date of birth and address as she appeared in the dock to face a single charge of causing death by careless driving.

Flowers have been left at the site in Southery in Norfolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Prosecutor Caroline Gardner said the US Air Force (USAF) had served the Crown Prosecution Service with a certificate under the 1952 Visiting Forces Act, which asserts jurisdiction.

It is understood that, if granted, Hayes could face a US military court.

But the prosecution will argue that she was not on duty or acting in the course of her duty at the time of the incident, which is said to have taken place as she was driving home from the base.

Deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram adjourned the case to 11 November for legal argument over the issue.

A court sketch of Mikayla Hayes at Westminster Magistrates' Court. Credit: Elizabeth Cook/PA

Major Keavy Rake, the USAF chief of public affairs at RAF Lakenheath, said: “RAF Lakenheath is aware of the fatality resulting from a vehicular accident involving a US service member.

“We express our deepest, most sincere condolences to the family of the deceased.

“We are and will remain in full co-operation with the Norfolk authorities during the investigation.”

Norfolk Police said officers were called to the B1160 Lynn Road at its junction with Ferry Bank shortly after 4pm last Friday to a collision involving a red Yamaha motorbike and a red Honda Accord.

Hayes was arrested, charged and remanded in custody following a hearing at Norfolk Magistrates’ Court last week.

But she was granted bail by Mr Ikram on Wednesday with conditions of residence at her home in Downham Market and attendance at King’s Lynn police station every Saturday.

Hayes’ passport is to be retained by the US Air Force, she is not allowed to apply for any documents for international travel, and she cannot leave England and Wales.

The crash happened near the crossroads in the village of Southery. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Home Office said it could not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

The case comes three years after teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn died in a crash with a car outside the US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

The alleged hit-and-run driver, US citizen Anne Sacoolas, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving four months after the August 2019 collision.

She had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf following the crash and was able to leave the country, sparking an international outcry, and has not yet returned to face British courts.