- Sky News
- A 42-year-old American woman is believed to have fatally hit a British teenager with a car while driving near a Royal Air Force station in England in August this year.
- She told police she would stay in the country to cooperate in the investigation, but she and her family have since claimed diplomatic immunity to return to the US.
- Diplomats and their families are legally entitled to claim immunity from being tried in their host country.
- Sky News and the BBC have revealed the suspect’s name is Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US diplomat in England.
- The parents of the victim, Harry Dunn, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson have appealed for her to return to the UK.
- Johnson said that if she doesn’t return, he will speak to President Donald Trump about it.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The wife of an American diplomat in the UK who was involved in a fatal collision with a British teenager claimed diplomatic immunity to flee the country.
Anne Sacoolas is believed to have hit Harry Dunn in a head-on collision while driving near RAF Croughton, a Royal Air Force station in England used by the US Air Force, in late August, Sky News reported.
Sky News, the BBC, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson all named Sacoolas on Monday. A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire Police declined to confirm the suspect’s identity, but identified her as a 42-year-old American woman in a statement issued on Saturday.
Dunn, 19, had been riding his motorbike and Sacoolas had been driving on the wrong side of the road at the time, Sky News reported.
- Google Maps
Police said that after the collision, it had worked “closely with the suspect, who engaged fully with us at the time and had previously confirmed to us that she had no plans to leave the country in the near future.”
Police also told Sky News that they applied for a waiver from diplomatic immunity shortly after their meeting so they could conduct further investigations.
“We were latterly advised that the waiver had been declined and the suspect had left the UK,” Superintendent Sarah Johnson told Sky News.
Sky News reported that someone on the American side had advised the woman and her family to return to the US.
Diplomats and their families are legally entitled to claim immunity from being tried in their host country as long as they are not nationals there as well. The diplomat’s home country can cancel this immunity, but the US State Department said on Saturday that diplomatic immunity is “rarely waived,” the BBC reported.
- Sky News
It’s not clear when exactly the suspect left the country. The US Embassy in London has not yet responded to Insider’s request for comment.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also not yet responded to Insider’s request for confirmation of the woman’s name. Dominic Raab, the British foreign secretary, said over the weekend he had “called the US Ambassador [in London] to express the UK’s disappointment with their decision, and to urge the Embassy to re-consider it.”
Boris Johnson also criticized Sacoolas’ departure on Monday, saying: “I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose.”
He urged her to return to the UK to face questioning, adding: “If we can’t resolve it, then of course I will be raising it myself, personally, with the White House.”
- Sky News
Dunn’s parents have also appealed for Sacoolas to return to the UK.
Charlotte Charles, Dunn’s mother, told Sky News: “We don’t know how we can start to grieve for him … We have nothing. No justice. We have nothing to put our minds at rest that she’s even remorseful.”
“We are not out to get her put behind bars,” she added, according to the BBC. “If that’s what the justice system ends up doing then we can’t stop that but we’re not out to do that, we’re out to try and get some peace for ourselves.”
Tim Dunn, the victim’s father, also told Sky News that Sacoolas’ departure under diplomatic immunity was “appalling.”
“It’s basically saying you can do what you like and you’ll be okay – it’s wrong,” he said. “It can’t be right.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise £10,000 ($12,327) for a legal campaign to prevent people from claiming diplomatic immunity in such circumstances.
“If we don’t get justice we’ll try and use money to get the law changed so people can’t kill and go away,” Charles told Sky News.