(Daily Mail) – Boris Johnson has used a phone call with US President Donald Trump to ‘reiterate the need’ for the woman charged over Harry Dunn’s death to be returned to the UK.
The Prime Minister spoke of the need for the 19-year-old’s family to secure justice after an extradition request for American suspect Anne Sacoolas was rejected on Thursday.
Harry Dunn’s family have been fighting for Mrs Sacoolas, 42, to face justice after their son died when his motorbike crashed into a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August last year.
A Downing Street spokesman said that Mr Johnson raised the topic during a phone call with the US President on Friday.
‘The Prime Minister raised the tragic case of Harry Dunn, and the need to secure justice for Harry’s family,’ a Downing Street spokesman said.
‘He reiterated the need for the individual involved to return to the UK.’
Mrs Sacoolas, 42, claimed diplomatic immunity following the crash and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.
She was charged with causing Harry’s death by dangerous driving by the Crown Prosecution Service in December.
The Dunn family’s spokesman Radd Seiger said today that UK authorities are exploring all options, including trying Mrs Sacoolas in her absence.
‘I am informed by officials in London that the UK authorities are urgently considering all their options following the rejection of the extradition request,’ he wrote,’including trying Anne Sacoolas in her absence and issuing an Interpol Red Notice’.
A petition on change.org called ‘Justice for Harry Dunn – Extradite Anne Sacoolas’, is urging US authorities to extradite the suspect, reached 100,000 signatures on Saturday evening.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom met Harry’s family on Friday, the day after she had informed them of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to refuse the request.
Ms Leadsom held talks with US ambassador Woody Johnson, the commander of RAF Croughton Colonel Bridget McNamara and the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police.
The family’s constituency MP, Mrs Leadsom said she had expressed her disappointment on their behalf during the discussion with the US ambassador.
She told reporters that the Prime Minister is ‘very much on the side of the family in their desire to see justice done’, adding: ‘All of us in Government are working to that end’.
A spokesman for the US State Department said the request was rejected because it would render the invocation of diplomatic immunity a practical nullity and set an extraordinarily troubling precedent.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the move ‘amounts to a denial of justice’ as he expressed the Government’s disappointment at the decision.
It is understood that Mr Raab will meet with Mr Pompeo next week, where the pair are likely to discuss the case.
The Foreign Office maintains the suspect had diplomatic immunity, which has been disputed by the family, but Mr Raab said he would look to ‘resolve the issue’ surrounding any immunity given to staff at the RAF Croughton base.
Harry Dunn’s father described a meeting with Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom yesterday as ‘promising’.
Tim Dunn said: ‘Some things we agree on and some things we don’t agree on. But I feel like she’s behind us, I really do.’
Speaking after a meeting with Harry’s family, Ms Leadsom said: ‘We’ve been talking about the frustrating news that the extradition was refused yesterday by the US government.
‘Obviously Harry’s family are disappointed and very upset by that, but equally very determined that the driver of the car that killed Harry Dunn should be brought back to the United Kingdom to face justice.
‘We are absolutely united in our determination to get justice for Harry.’
Ms Leadsom added: ‘I’ve been talking with Harry’s family about what the next steps are and it will take some time to consider what the government’s next steps should be. But I am working on that with my colleagues in government.’
Ms Leadsom said she could not comment on whether the government would block any future extradition proceedings, adding: ‘We just heard that news last night. It was obviously very disappointing and I will be seeing what more can be done on behalf of Harry’s family.’
Addressing what she said to the US ambassador on Friday morning, Ms Leadsom said: ‘I expressed my disappointment on behalf of Harry’s family, but also really importantly for the local community near to the RAF Croughton base.
‘It’s very concerning that this, which was at its heart a tragic road accident – which does unfortunately happen all the time, right across the world – but in this instance, the fact that there is no justice for Harry, makes the pain of losing him so much worse and that’s what we have to address.’
Pushed on what was said in the meeting with the US ambassador, Ms Leadsom said: ‘I don’t want to comment on that meeting, it was, of course, very cordial.
‘The relationship between the UK and the US is a very deep and long-standing and very good relationship – and we do have frank conversations – but I don’t want to comment on that meeting.’
Asked if the Prime Minister was going to comment on the case, Ms Leadsom said: ‘The Prime Minister is very much on the side of the family in their desire to see justice done for Harry.
‘All of us in government are working to that end.’
Commenting on the meeting with Ms Leadsom, Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles said: ‘The meeting went well with Andrea – it went really well.
‘There’s points that she’s given us which she’s going to take away and has fully assured us that she’ll be working on, and we’re very much feeling supported by her and the rest of the government.
‘It’s going to take time, it’s not an overnight thing, but we’ll get there.’
Speaking about what the family now wants after the extradition request was refused, Charlotte Charles said yesterday: ‘She has to come back.
‘I still don’t understand how she can even live with herself and carry on with her life and drive.
‘I don’t understand that, she must be made of different stuff to us, I don’t know. But she has to come back, one way or another.’
Meanwhile, the Foreign Secretary has said the Government ‘would have acted differently’ from the US secretary of state after he refused to return the suspect charged with causing the death of Harry Dunn to the UK.
Dominic Raab appeared to suggest he would have agreed to extradite 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas if he was put in the same position as Mike Pompeo.
Mr Raab said the rejection of an extradition request for her ‘amounts to a denial of justice’ and that the Foreign Office believes she should return to the UK.
Earlier yesterday, Harry’s family slammed the ‘indefensible’ US decision to block the deportation of Anne Sacoolas in a ‘dark day for the special relationship’ and demanded a meeting with Boris Johnson.
America yesterday refused to hand over a diplomat’s wife who is accused of killing a 19-year-old British biker in a crash near a US airbase.
Mr Dunn was killed in a head-on collision with a car on August 27 last year near RAF Croughton, in Northamptonshire.
Ms Sacoolas, 42, the wife of a US intelligence official, is believed to have been driving on the wrong side of the road and was charged with causing death by dangerous driving. But she claimed diplomatic immunity and flew to the US.
The PM (pictured on BBC Breakfast) played down expectations of a legal breakthrough
Asked if the Prime Minister was doing enough, family spokesman Radd Seiger told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I have to say at the moment not. We did not welcome his public comments last week.
‘He is the leader of the gang, he aspired to be Prime Minister. History was made last night when the Americans decided not to return her.
‘That’s the first time in history that the United States has turned down an extradition request. It’s one of the darkest days in the history of this special relationship.
‘Boris Johnson wanted to be Prime Minister, he is now being tested severely. I expect him today to rise to that challenge and come and meet with me and the family and tell us what he’s going to do about it.’
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the Government is disappointed about the decision not to extradite Harry Dunn crash suspect Anne Sacoolas to the UK, adding: ‘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.’
Mr Seiger told MailOnline yesterday: ‘The family are not at all surprised at these developments and are taking it in their stride having factored it in to their planning and strategy.
‘This is a lawless corrupt administration that appears intent on attacking even it’s closest international ally. If Trump and Pompeo think this is an end to the matter, they have another thing coming to them. Team Harry will sit down with the Government tomorrow (Fri) and work out our next steps. And next steps there will be. The whole world is on Team Harry’s side. This is not a battle the US Government is going to win.’
Yesterday he told Good Morning Britain: ‘History was made last night. This is the first time the US have ever refused an extradition request from the UK. It’s one of the darkest days in the history of the special relationship.’
He added: ‘It’s a completely indefensible decision both legally and morally.’
Reacting to Mr Raab’s comments on the extradition refusal, the teenager’s family said: ‘We are obviously grateful for any intervention that the Foreign Office (FCO) is making on our behalf.
‘However, the fact remains that the FCO are still defending the judicial review proceedings.
‘It remains our position that intelligence officers at RAF Croughton have diplomatic immunity and that if we dare challenge that in court they will seek to effectively make us bankrupt if the we lose the case by forcing us to pay legal costs.
‘That amounts to a huge arm around the US Government’s position that their (the US) personnel are free to come to the UK, kill UK citizens or shed their blood, and then get on the next plane back home.
‘How they have the front to maintain that position after last night’s decision is a complete mystery to us and should trouble everyone on this side of the pond.
‘As things stand, it matters more to the FCO that the status quo be maintained and protected than the lives of their own people and their families’ ability to seek justice in the event of the worst happening.
‘If we have that wrong, they are more than welcome to make that concession now or meet with us to explain why they will not do so.’
Mr Seiger said: ‘What it threw up unfortunately is just the corrupt nature of this (Trump) administration that seems intent upon taking a wrecking ball to every institution there is.’
Boris Johnson last week said the chance of the suspect ever returning to the UK was very low.
Mr Seiger last week said the Prime Minister’s comments made on BBC Breakfast were ‘a very powerful blow’ which have ‘done real damage’ to his bid to bring the wife of an American intelligence officer back to Britain to face justice.
‘I was watching the BBC Breakfast interview in disbelief – my jaw hit the floor,’ he told MailOnline. ‘We are incandescent with rage,’ he said.
Demanding a greater show of support from the PM, Mr Seiger questioned whether the Mr Johnson is more interested in currying favour with President Trump than supporting the grieving parents of a British citizen.
‘Boris Johnson’s comments have made my job ten times harder. We were beginning to make real progress,’ he said.
‘We felt that although we weren’t supported by authorities initially, through hard work and dialogue, we were building bridges.
‘Home Secretary Priti Patel reached out – along with our MP Andrea Leadsom – and we were bringing the government and Harry’s family together.
‘When he [Boris Johnson] spoke on BBC Breakfast I was in disbelief. It wasn’t the public line we agreed on.’
Mr Seiger added: ‘It’s not just about Harry anymore, it’s about the ability to allow a sovereign nation to apply the laws of the land to the foreign visitors.
‘Everyone right up to the Home Secretary agrees with this – all except for Boris who is off in La La Land.’
Mr Seiger also revealed that Harry’s mother Charlotte had begun therapy to begin to process his son’s death, adding: ‘It was especially difficult over the holiday season.’