Boris Johnson raises Harry Dunn case with President Biden

Boris Johnson raises Harry Dunn case with President Biden

June 10, 2021

Boris Johnson raises Harry Dunn case with President Biden in first face-to-face meeting ahead of Court of Appeal challenge against American suspect’s diplomatic immunity

  • Teen was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside a US military base 
  • Alleged killer Anne Sacoolas, a diplomat’s wife, fled to US and has not returned 
  • Dunn family have challenged the diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf
  • The PM ‘reiterated that the UK wants to see justice done,’ No10 spokesman said 

Boris Johnson raised the case of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn in his first face-to-face meeting with US President Joe Biden.

The Prime Minister reiterated that the UK wants justice done for the 19-year-old, who was killed when a car crashed into his motorbike outside a US military base in Northamptonshire on August 27, 2019.

Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence official based at RAF Croughton, has since been charged with causing the teenager’s death by dangerous driving.

Boris Johnson raised the case of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn in his first face-to-face meeting with US President Joe Biden

The 19-year-old was killed when a car crashed into his motorbike outside a US military base in Northamptonshire on August 27, 2019

Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence official based at RAF Croughton, has since been charged with causing the teenager’s death by dangerous driving

Anne Sacoolas used a loophole to claim diplomatic immunity after allegedly killing Harry Dunn in a crash involving her Volvo SUV.

It was believed that diplomatic immunity only applied to US officials – and their families – if they worked at the US Embassy in London.

But it appears that because of the work done at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire – a US intelligence hub in Britain – the same applies there. 

Sky News claims an immunity deal between the UK and US there started in  1994.

As a result Northamptonshire Police were planning to get Anne Sacoolas to sign a ‘waiver of diplomatic immunity’ – but she, her husband and their children fled on a private jet.

Harry’s family claim that Mrs Sacoolas had promised to work with police and admitted culpability. 

The suspect had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf following the crash and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.

At his first face-to-face meeting with President Biden in Cornwall on Thursday, Mr Johnson reasserted the UK Government’s position on the case.

Confirming it had been raised, a No 10 spokesman said: ‘The PM raised the tragic Harry Dunn case with President Biden and reiterated that the UK wants to see justice done for the family.’

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has also raised the case with his US counterpart Tony Blinken in past discussions.

The Dunn family said they are ‘very pleased’ to see the case raised at the ‘first available opportunity’.

Speaking after the PM raised the case with President Biden, the Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger said: ‘Harry’s parents are very pleased to see that the PM has taken the opportunity to raise the case with President Biden at the first available opportunity.

‘This rightly shows just how important this issue is and we are very grateful to the Prime Minister and his team for doing so.

‘As all parties know there is no greater force on earth than the love between a mother and child.

‘The family will continue to pursue justice until it is done.’

The Dunn family have challenged the diplomatic immunity asserted on Sacoolas’s behalf, which will be heard in the Court of Appeal next year.

Mr Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, have also brought a civil claim against the suspect and her husband in the US state of Virginia.

WHY ARE AMERICANS AT RAF CROUGHTON IN THE UK?

RAF Croughton is an air base that is currently being leased by the US government. 

It houses the 422nd Air Base Group, but is also being used by spies working for the Joint Intelligence Operations Center Europe (JIOCEUR). 

JIOCEUR is a military intelligence analysis center which is part of the Defense Intelligence Agency. The agency is an external branch of government which provides intelligence to ‘warfighters, defense policymakers and force planners in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community’. 

The entrance to RAF Croughton is shown. Sacoolas was exiting the base when she turned onto the wrong side of the road on August 27

It provides intelligence information for the U.S. European and African commands as well as NATO.  

The Center is based at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire but, following the 2015 announcement that it was to close in 2023, many of the positions were moved to Croughton. 

There are plans to consolidate it with the U.S. Africa Command to make a larger station at Croughton that will be known as the Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex – a major hub for US intelligence gathering.

According to locals in Croughton, the communications center – where Sacoolas’ husband is said to work – is a ‘site within the site’ which has its own separate security.  

The US government is reconsidering the relocation after being met with resistance from lawmakers who said it would be too expensive.  

A file photo of a geodesic dome covering radar scanners and satellite dishes at the base. It is an intelligence gathering hub which the US Defense Intelligence Agency uses to collect information from Europe and Africa 

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