Harry Dunn death: US calls bid to extradite Anne Sacoolas 'highly inappropriate'

11 January 2020, 12:49 | Updated: 11 January 2020, 12:51

Harry Dunn
Harry Dunn. Picture: PA

The US State Department has labeled the UK's request to extradite the suspect charged in connection with the death of Harry Dunn as "highly inappropriate."

Home Secretary Priti Patel sent an extradition notice to the US Justice Department for Anne Sacoolas over the death of the young motorcyclist in a road accident in August.

Ms Sacoolas, a US diplomat's wife, left the UK after the fatal crash in which she hit British teenager outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire last year.

She was charged with dangerous driving by the CPS in December, but has remained in the US claiming diplomatic immunity.

Confirming the extradition 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."

However, the US Department for State said its position had always been that Ms 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 they added that under the circumstances of this case, they strongly believe that an extradition request would be highly inappropriate.

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

Anne Sacoolas left the country shortly after the incident
Anne Sacoolas left the country shortly after the incident. Picture: Facebook

Reacting to the extradition request on behalf of Harry Dunn's family, spokesman Radd Seiger said: "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."

Harry Dunn's parents at a press conference in New York.
Harry Dunn's parents at a press conference in New York. Picture: PA

Harry Dunn's parents have been fighting for justice for their son since the crash. They claimed they had been repeatedly "lied to" by officials until Ms Saccolas was charged.

A Northamptonshire Chief Constable wrote to the family in December to apologise for a "breakdown" in communications.

The 19-year-old's parents went to the USA where Harry Dunn's mother said the American woman suspected of causing her son's death, should be brought back to the UK to face justice, saying: "It's the right thing to to do. It's the humane thing to do."

The family has also had meetings with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.