Diplomats wife admits being on the wrong side of the road

The wife of a US diplomat accused of killing teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn in a head-on collision has broken her silence and admitted driving on the wrong side of the road.

Oct 15, 2019
By Tony Thompson
Harry Dunn

In a statement issued through her lawyers, Anne Sacoolas has given her first account of the event. A spokesperson from her law firm Arnold & Porter said: “Anne was driving on the wrong side of the road and had no time to react when she saw the motorbike – the crash happened too fast.

Ministry of Defence Police officers arrived shortly after the collision on August 27 near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, but it took a “long time” for an ambulance to get there, they added.

“Anne stayed on the scene of the accident to assist. She spoke to Harry Dunn to tell him that she would call for help. She waved down another car. That driver pulled over and offered to assist Harry so that Anne could comfort her young children, who had been in her car and were on the scene.”

Mrs Sacoolas, a mother-of-three and husband of a US diplomat, has said she wants to meet Mr Dunn’s family to “apologise and take responsibility”, her law firm said.

She is reported to have accepted responsibility when first spoken to by Northamptonshire Police but fled the country with her family shortly afterwards, claiming diplomatic immunity.

Her husband is an Intelligence officer based at the RAF station, which is used as a communications centre by the US.

Superintendent Sarah Johnson said: “Northamptonshire Police followed all of its usual procedures following the incident, including liaising 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. Due process was also followed in seeking the necessary documentation to allow for the arrest and formal interview of the suspect, and the force is now exploring all opportunities through diplomatic channels to ensure that the investigation continues to progress.”

On Monday (October 14), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose. I hope that Anne Sacoolas will come back and will engage properly with the processes of law as they are carried out in this country. That’s a point that we’ve raised or are raising today with the American Ambassador here in the U.K., and I hope it will be resolved very shortly. And to anticipate a question you might want to raise, if we can’t resolve it then of course I will be raising it myself personally with the White House.”

Mr Dunn’s parents, Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles, who are in the US, have said they do not want to meet Mrs Sacoolas until she returns to the UK to face justice.

On Tuesday, the family announced their intention to launch a judicial review into advice given by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to Northamptonshire Police in relation to the incident unless they are given access to all the emails, messages and notes relating to the advice.

The family’s spokesman, Radd Seiger, said: “We want to conduct an investigation into the FCO’s decision to advise Northamptonshire Police that this lady had the benefit of diplomatic immunity. If we’re not satisfied, then we’ll go to a judicial review and ask a High Court judge to review it all.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wrote to the family prior to their departure to the US, telling them Mrs Sacoolas no longer had immunity.

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