Harry Dunn death: Boris Johnson to raise issue of US driving with American officials

Written by on 19/01/2020

Boris Johnson says he will raise the issue of the driving standards of US personnel with American officials, in the wake of the death of Harry Dunn.

Speaking ahead of a conference in Berlin, the prime minister said: “We’re certainly raising all those issues – about the driving habits of US personnel at the base – and we’re continuing to work for justice for Harry Dunn and for his family.”

The teenager 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, Anne Sacoolas, claimed diplomatic immunity and returned to the US, where she has been since Harry died.

Yesterday, police revealed that diplomatic cars were driven on the wrong side of the road in two separate incidents near the RAF base where the teenager was killed.

Mr Johnson has previously described the chances of the US handing over Anne Sacoolas as “very low”.

Mrs Sacoolas, 42, the wife of a US intelligence official, claimed diplomatic immunity and returned to the US, where she has been since Harry died.

She is believed to have been driving on the wrong side of the road.

Harry’s mother, Charlotte Charles, and his father Tim Dunn have sought assurances that safety measures are in place to make sure there are no similar incidents.

Police say they have called for talks with the base commander at RAF Croughton to discuss driving standards on the roads around it.

Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger told Sky News he welcomed the prime minister’s comments, but said the family are “disappointed it’s taken this long to get to this level of interest in [Harry’s death]”.

“It’s not going to be resolved at leadership level, it’s going to be resolved here [on the roads around RAF Croughton],” he added.

“What we want to see is a complete safety review, with risk assessments involving road safety experts, the police, the people on the base and the residents and we all sit down and look at all issues.

“It’s not about the driving habits of American personnel on the base, that’s just one small part of it, but there are lots of things that can be done to improve safety in the area and we need to sit down urgently.”

Mr Seiger said it is down to “luck rather than judgement” that “no blood has been shed since Harry”.

He said he has been informed of “dozens and dozens” of other incidents around the country of people “suffering harm or worse” at the hands of American drivers around these bases.

Mr Seiger said: “It’s been a shock for me to learn about it, but it’s all been swept under the carpet. Harry was not a one off.”

He said while there is “lots of good discussion [around the case] at a diplomatic level”, he is not holding out hope for any positive results coming from Mr Johnson’s involvement.

Mr Seiger said it is essential Mrs Sacoolas returns to the UK in order to resolve the situation.

The British government has submitted an extradition request for Mrs Sacoolas, who has been formally charged over Harry’s death with causing death by dangerous driving.

However, the US has called the request “highly inappropriate”.

(c) Sky News 2020: Harry Dunn death: Boris Johnson to raise issue of US driving with American officials


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