US Air Force asserts jurisdiction in case of woman accused over biker’s death

·2-min read
Mikayla Hayes leaves Westminster Magistrates’ Court, London, after she was bailed on charges of causing death by careless driving. Ms Hayes, 23, was driving her Honda Accord when it was involved in a collision which killed 33-year-old motorcyclist Matthew Day on the A10 at Southery, near Downham Market, Norfolk, on Friday. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2022. (PA Wire)
Mikayla Hayes leaves Westminster Magistrates’ Court, London, after she was bailed on charges of causing death by careless driving. Ms Hayes, 23, was driving her Honda Accord when it was involved in a collision which killed 33-year-old motorcyclist Matthew Day on the A10 at Southery, near Downham Market, Norfolk, on Friday. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2022. (PA Wire)

The US Air Force has asserted jurisdiction in the prosecution of a servicewoman charged with causing the death of a motorcyclist by careless driving following a crash in Norfolk, a court has heard.

Airman first class Mikayla Hayes, 23, who is based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, was released on conditional bail on Wednesday after appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court over the death of Matthew Day.

The 33-year-old 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, last Friday.

Flowers were left at the side of the A10 at Southery in Norfolk (Sam Russell/PA) (PA Wire)
Flowers were left at the side of the A10 at Southery in Norfolk (Sam Russell/PA) (PA Wire)

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

Several bouquets of flowers were left at the scene following the incident.

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.

Prosecutor Caroline Gardner said the US Air Force (USAF) has 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.

Court artist sketch of Mikayla Hayes appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA) (PA Wire)
Court artist sketch of Mikayla Hayes appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA) (PA Wire)

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 November 11 for legal argument over the issue.

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 works as an Airman at RAF Lakenheath in Norfolk (Emma Sword/PA) (PA Archive)
Hayes works as an Airman at RAF Lakenheath in Norfolk (Emma Sword/PA) (PA Archive)

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