US says UK's extradition request for intelligence official's wife over driving death is 'highly inappropriate'
US authorities have described an extradition request from the UK for the suspect charged in connection with the death of a teenage motorcyclist as “highly inappropriate”.
The Home Office submitted the request for Anne Sacoolas, 42, on Friday after she was charged with causing Harry Dunn’s death by dangerous driving last month.
The 19-year-old died after his motorbike crashed into a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.
Mrs Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence official, claimed diplomatic immunity after the collision and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.
The US Department for State said its position was Mrs Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity, stating a request to extradite somebody with immunity would be an abuse.
A spokesman added 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, under the circumstances of this case, they strongly believe that an extradition request would be highly inappropriate.
Confirming the 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.”
Mr Dunn’s family spokesman Radd Seiger said they were pleased an extradition request had been lodged and added they felt it was a “huge step towards achieving justice for Harry”.
He said: “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.”
After a meeting with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel, Mr Dunn’s mum Charlotte Charles and dad Tim Dunn, pressed repeatedly for a meeting with the Prime Minister.
The family’s local MP, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, has written to Boris Johnson to request a face-to-face meeting.
The family have initiated various legal proceedings against the Foreign Office, the US government and Mrs Sacoolas herself after their lawyers disputed the granting of diplomatic immunity.
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Mrs Sacoolas lawyer Amy Jeffress has said her client will “not return voluntarily to the UK to face a potential jail sentence” and described the incident as a “terrible but unintentional accident”.
Mrs Sacoolas was criticised by the Dunn family after she was filmed behind the wheel in the US in December.