British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will make a personal plea to the White House should a U.S. diplomat’s wife fail to return to the U.K. to face questioning in a wrong-way collision that killed a British teenager.
Johnson stood up for the family of 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dunn on Monday, telling reporters that Anne Sacoolas’ claim of diplomatic immunity is unjustified.
“I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose and I hope that Anne Sacoolas will come back and will engage properly with the processes of laws that are carried out in this country,” he told reporters. “If we can’t resolve it then, of course, I will be raising it myself personally with the White House.”
Sacoolas, 42, reportedly fled back to the U.S. following the Aug. 27 traffic collision in the village of Croughton.
Surveillance video captured Saccolas’ car pull out of the nearby Royal Air Force Croughton, which serves as a communications station for the U.S. Air Force, and then drive on the wrong side of the road up a hill, Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, told Sky News.
“Harry had no chance of avoiding her. She traveled from around 350 to 400 yards on the wrong side of the road. It was a head-on collision. We later lost him in hospital,” she said.
“We don’t know how we can start to grieve for him,” she added of her family’s plea for closure. “We have nothing. No justice. We have nothing to put our minds at rest that she’s even remorseful.”
Sacoolas spoke with authorities at the scene and said she had no plans to leave the country in the near future, the Northamptonshire Police Department said in a statement on Saturday.
If we can’t resolve it then, of course, I will be raising it myself personally with the White House.
“Due process was also followed in seeking the necessary documentation to allow for the arrest and formal interview of the suspect,” the police department said.
To authorities’ apparent surprise, Sacoolas later left for the U.S. and has since claimed diplomatic immunity under the 1961 Vienna Convention, which protects diplomats and their family members from prosecution. Immunity can be waived by the state that has sent them.
A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, in a statement to HuffPost, expressed sympathy for the deceased’s family but said that it’s highly unlikely the U.S. will waive diplomatic immunity. The case will receive intense attention at senior levels, the spokesperson said, and the department will consider its global impact, as it does with all cases like this.
The State Department did not identify Sacoolas by name, and declined to comment on her spouse’s diplomatic role.
Northamptonshire Chief constable Nick Adderley said that he and his county’s police, fire and crime commissioner have also requested that her immunity be waived.
“Harry Dunn’s family deserve justice and in order to achieve this, a full and thorough investigation, with the assistance of all parties involved, needs to take place,” the Northamptonshire Police Department said. “Northamptonshire Police is committed to ensuring justice for Harry and specially trained officers continue to support the Dunn family in their loss, including keeping them fully informed of all developments in the investigation.”