Dominic Raab says American woman who killed Harry Dunn may be tried virtually

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Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab

Britain is pushing for a virtual trial of the American diplomat’s wife accused of killing teenager Harry Dunn.

Washington has blocked the extradition of Anne Sacoolas to face charges stemming from the car crash that killed 19-year-old motorcyclist outside a US military base in Northamptonshire in 2019.

However, Dominic Raab said on Saturday that the path is now clear for the UK to push for a form of “virtual trial or process” to provide accountability and justice for Mr Dunn's family.

He weighed in after Boris Johnson said US President Joe Biden was “actively engaged” and “extremely sympathetic” about the case, after they discussed it at a face-to-face meeting at the G7 summit in Cornwall.

Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US diplomat who fatally hit a British teenager Harry Dunn and left the country after she collided with his motorbike near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire -  Facebook
Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US diplomat who fatally hit a British teenager Harry Dunn and left the country after she collided with his motorbike near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire - Facebook

The Foreign Secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The US has not agreed to the extradition, but the path is clear for the legal authorities in the UK to approach Anne Sacoolas’s lawyers - without any problem from the US government - to see whether some kind of virtual trial or process could allow some accountability and some solace and some justice for the Dunn family.”

He added: “I would like to see some accountability. I think the family deserve no less.”

Mr Dunn died in August 2019 when a car crashed into his motorbike outside RAF Croughton, a base used by US personnel in Northamptonshire.

Undated family handout file photo of Harry Dunn. - PA
Undated family handout file photo of Harry Dunn. - PA

A diplomatic row erupted in the aftermath, when US authorities refused a request for the extradition of Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence officer, after asserting diplomatic immunity on her behalf.

She returned to her home country and was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

Speaking after the bilateral talks between the Prime Minister and Mr Biden, Mr Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles said: “We are incredibly grateful that Harry’s case is being taken so seriously as to be raised on the eve of the G7 meeting with so many worldwide crises going on.

“We very much hope that President Biden takes a different view to the previous administration, given his deeply personal connection to the case, having suffered loss in similar circumstances.”

Mr Biden’s first wife and daughter were killed in a road crash in 1972, while his sons Beau and Hunter survived.

rime Minister of United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, and US President Joe Biden - Leon Neal/ Getty Images Europe
rime Minister of United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, and US President Joe Biden - Leon Neal/ Getty Images Europe

Ms Charles added: “We are all suffering intensely as a family and really need a resolution as soon as possible and now await to hear from the CPS as to what steps they plan to take next.

“We have been working incredibly hard behind the scenes having dialogue with as many people on both sides of the Atlantic as possible and believe that these efforts will help us in our search for justice.

“It is almost two years since we lost Harry in August 2019 and it would be lovely to think that all parties can now come together to help bring this living nightmare to an end so that we can try to rebuild our shattered lives."

After discussing the matter with Mr Biden, Mr Johnson told the BBC: “As you know, he has his own personal reasons for feeling very deeply about the issue.

“And he was extremely sympathetic, but this is not something that either government can control very easily because there are legal processes that are still going on."

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