Harry Dunn: Family will 'never give up' after extradition request denied

Harry Dunn's mother has told Sky News they were "prepared" for the US to turn down an extradition request for the woman charged over the 19-year-old's death.

Charlotte Charles said the denial by the US State Department to extradite Anna Sacoolas was a "blow" but one that she and Mr Dunn's father Tim Dunn expected.

"We've just got to carry on fighting and we will get there in the end," she told Sky News correspondent Lisa Dowd.

"We'd prepared ourselves for this. We've just got to carry on fighting and we will get there in the end.

"It doesn't matter when, whether it's this administration or the next. The extradition request is always going to be over Anna Sacoolas's head, and we're never going to give up."

Mr Dunn died in a head-on crash with a car on 27 August last year near to RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

The driver of the car, Mrs Sacoolas, claimed diplomatic immunity and returned to the US, where she has been since Harry died. Her husband is thought to be a US intelligence officer.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "I called the US Ambassador earlier to express the Government's disappointment about this decision. We feel this amounts to a denial of justice, and we believe Anne Sacoolas should return to the UK.

"We are now urgently considering our options. I also explained that the UK would have acted differently if this had been a UK diplomat serving in the US."

A State Department spokesperson said: "At the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the US citizen driver in this case had immunity from criminal jurisdiction.

"If the United States were to grant the UK's extradition request, it would render the invocation of diplomatic immunity a practical nullity and would set an extraordinarily troubling precedent.

"The United States has a history of close law enforcement cooperation with the United Kingdom, and we value that relationship.

"The United States government again expresses its sincere condolences and sympathy to the Dunn family for the loss of their son."

Mrs Sacoolas, 42, was charged with causing his death by dangerous driving, by the Crown Prosecution Service in December.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the Dunn family have said it is the first time in the 100-year history of the extradition treaty that such a request had been turned down by the US.

However, Boris Johnson has previously described the chances of America handing over Mrs Sacoolas as "very low".

Spokesman for the Dunns, Radd Seiger, said the family's constituency MP Andrea Leadsom had called him on Thursday evening to inform him of Mr Pompeo's decision.

He told Sky News: "She told me an email had dropped in to the government this evening from Secretary Pompeo declining the extradition request.

"It was not a surprise and there was no reason given."

Mr Seiger continued: "This changes absolutely nothing, we completely factored in this development into our planning - we knew it was coming all along. Secretary Pompeo made his position clear right from the start that she was never going back."

Ms Leadsom is due to meet the US ambassador Woody Johnson in London on Friday to discuss the case.

The decision comes after the commander of a US military base, Colonel Bridget McNamara of RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, said all staff must take a "driver safety course" and pass a written exam based on UK driving laws.

At the weekend, police revealed that diplomatic cars were driven on the wrong side of the road in two separate incidents near the base.

Footage has emerged of one of the incidents, showing a blue BMW involved in a near-miss.

The base, which is used as a communications station for the US Air Force, has come under scrutiny since Mr Dunn's death.

In reaction to the statement from Col McNamara, Mr Dunn's family said it was the first time they had heard from the colonel for five months.

Mr Seiger said the base had a "blatant disregard for the safety of the community" and said their statement was "the opposite of the truth".