The heartbroken parents of Harry Dunn have today welcomed the news that the woman accused of causing the teenager’s death is now ‘wanted internationally’.
Interpol last night issued a Red Notice on Anne Sacoolas, who is charged with causing the death of the 19-year-old motorbike rider following a crash in Northamptonshire in August last year.
The notice means Mrs Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence official, is likely to be arrested if she leaves her home country – to which she returned after claiming diplomatic immunity.
But today US officials, who previously refused a request by the UK government to extradite Mrs Sacoolas back to the UK, have stood firm on their position.
It comes as the parents of Mr Dunn, Charlotte and Tim, welcomed news of Interpol’s Red Notice and said ‘the UK authorities are finally on the same page as us after eight months’.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, Harry’s father, Tim Dunn, said: ‘I wasn’t expecting it at all and from my understanding is that she is now a wanted fugitive.
Harry Dunn’s parents Tim Dunn (right) and Charlotte Charles (left) appeared on Good Morning Britain today with Piers Morgan
Mrs Charles appeared on the breakfast show after Interpol last night issued a Red Notice on Anne Sacoolas, who is accused of causing the death of her son in a crash in August last year
Harry’s father Tim said he was not expecting the notice to be issued and described it as a ‘massive step’ for the family
‘If she leaves America she can be arrested and sent back to the UK and stand trial so its a massive step for us as a family, it’s been a real hard time.
‘This news is great I am sure this is going to help us down the road, it’s going to be a good thing.’
Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles said: ‘The one major thing that came out of this Red Interpol notice yesterday is that it encourages us and confirms to us that the UK authorities are finally on the same page as us because they cannot issue a red Interpol notice to anybody that was or is covered by diplomatic immunity.
‘That gives us confidence that finally after eight months of losing Harry and the fighting that we have done, the UK authorities are clearly on the same page as us.’
She described finding out about the news as ‘very emotional’ for the family.
Yesterday, nine months after the fatal crash, after which she fled Britain for the US, Mrs Sacoolas was made the subject of an Interpol Red Notice.
She is charged in the UK with causing the death of the 19-year-old by dangerous driving following a crash in Northamptonshire in August last year.
She claimed diplomatic immunity following the collision and was able to return to her home country, sparking a row between the UK and US.
Anne Sacoolas, 42, is charged in the UK with causing the death the 19-year-old Harry Dunn by dangerous driving following a crash in Northamptonshire in August last year
Ms Sacoolas, who is the wife of a US intelligence official, claimed diplomatic immunity following the crash and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy
News broke of the Red Notice issued by Interpol this afternoon
She was eventually charged with causing death by dangerous driving in absentia in December.
But in January a Home Office extradition request for her was rejected by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Today US officials stood firm on that position.
A spokeswoman for the US State Department maintained the position Ms Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity from criminal jurisdiction.
She said that granting the extradition request for her would have rendered the invocation of diplomatic immunity a practical nullity and would have set an extraordinarily troubling precedent.
The spokeswoman added that US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s decision to decline the UK’s request for extradition was final.
Yesterday Interpol, an international organisation that facilitates worldwide police cooperation, issued the Red Notice, which means Ms Sacoolas would be arrested the minute she leaves US soil.
In an e-mail sent by Northamptonshire Police, Harry’s parents were told the suspect is ‘Wanted Internationally’ and ‘should she leave the USA the wanted circulations should be enacted’.
Harry Dunn’s mother and father Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles have campaigned tirelessly for justice over the crash
Ms Sacoolas (left) was eventually charged with causing death by dangerous driving of Harry Dunn (right) in December
The teenager died in hospital his motorbike crashed into a car outside the US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.
The crash took place on the B4031, about 400 yards from the exit.
The car was said to have been driven by Mrs Sacoolas, a US government employee working at the United States Air Force listening station at RAF Croughton.
Initially, she cooperated with police at the scene of the crash and was breathalysed.
She was interviewed the following day at home under caution by police, who were investigating claims her car was being driven on the wrong side of the road at the time of the crash.
But shortly after the interview Mrs Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity as the wife of US intelligence personnel and fled back to the US.
The US Government has maintained its position, that she had been granted diplomatic immunity during her time in the UK.
It sparked a row between the two countries with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman saying the US decision not to extradite her amounts to a ‘denial of justice and she should return to the UK’.
‘We have made this clear to the US including the Prime Minister to President Trump,’ they added.
Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles (L) and Tim Dunn, pictured together on the ‘This Morning’ TV show in October 2019, wrote to President Trump, pleading with him to reverse the decision to uphold the block on Anne Sacoolas’ extradition
The teenager’s parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn wrote a letter urging the US to hand her over.
Downing Street backed Harry’s parents in their plea to Donald Trump to review the decision to block an extradition request for their son’s alleged killer.
The letter, addressed to Mr Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, sent earlier this month comes after it was reported that lawyers acting on behalf Mrs Sacoolas had opened up a dialogue with the Foreign Office to work towards a ‘resolution’.
Harry’s mother said she remains hopeful for a personal response from Trump to the letter, and that she believes the ‘door is slightly ajar’ despite the U.S. state department maintaining its position on her having diplomatic immunity.
Charlotte Charles, Harry Dunn’s mother, wipes away tears after leaving the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, where she met Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on October 9 last year
A spokeswoman for the State Department reiterated its position that at the time of the accident, and for the duration of her time in the UK, Mrs Sacoolas had immunity from criminal jurisdiction.
She said the Foreign Secretary had made that clear in Parliament on October 21, 2019.
Timeline of events following Harry Dunn’s death
27 August 2019: Harry Dunn, 19, killed while riding his motorcycle near Croughton, Northamptonshire near the exit to RAF Croughton, when it collided with a car travelling in the opposite direction
28 August 2019: Suspect Anne Sacoolas is interviewed by police. Northamptonshire police request a diplomatic immunity waver
16 September 2019: Foreign office informs police that the waiver had been declined and that Sacoolas had left the UK on a US Air Force aircraft
15 October 2019: Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn take their campaign for justice to the US where they meet with President Trump at the White House. They refuse meet the suspect, who was waiting in a room next door
31 October 2019: Northamptonshire police interview Sacoolas in the US after requesting permission to do so
25 November 2019: Dunn’s parents submit a judicial review of the Foreign Secretary’s actions over the extension of diplomatic immunity to intelligence staff and families at RAF Croughton
20 December 2019: Crown Prosecution Service announces that Sacoolas to be charged with causing death by dangerous driving and that it was starting extradition proceedings against her
10 January: Home Office formally requests the extradition of Sacoolas to face charges in the United Kingdom
23 January: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally rejects request for extradition
28 April: Charlotte and Tim write a letter to the US Government, urging it to change its mind on the diplomatic immunity granted to Sacoolas
11 May: An Interpol Red Notice is issued for Sacoolas’ arrest
She added that since the accident occurred, the US had been closely engaged with the UK government and have been transparent about their positions on legal and diplomatic matters.
Harry’s parents asked Trump and Pompeo to reconsider the decision to refuse the Home Office’s request for extradition, saying that the UK justice system has ‘fairness at its heart’.
The couple met the president at the White House six months ago, where he had hoped they would meet the suspect, who was waiting in a room next door, but they declined to see her.
They took their campaign for justice to the US in October, two months after Mr Dunn was killed when his motorbike collided with a car outside a US military base in Northamptonshire.
Foreign Office officials failed to inform Northamptonshire police that Harry’s alleged killer would be returning to the US after the crash in which he died, it was claimed last month.
In the days after Harry’s death, police say the Foreign Office told them Mrs Sacoolas had immunity and they would seek a waiver.
But over the following fortnight, Northamptonshire Police say they were not told about discussions in the UK about the legality of that immunity, according to ITV News.
The following day, a senior Foreign Office official purportedly sent a text message to their US embassy counterpart saying: ‘I think that now the decision has been taken not to waive [immunity] there’s not much mileage in us asking you to keep the family here. It’s obviously not us approving of their departure but I think you should feel able to put them on the next flight out…’
On Sunday, September 15 mrs Sacoolas and her family flew back to America. Northamptonshire Police allegedly only found out she had gone in a foreign office call the next day.
Documents seen by ITV News say the senior investigating officer recalls being told Mrs Sacoolas had contacted Foreign Office officials days before leaving asking if there was anything stopping her and her family from going.
Harry’s mother said she was shocked by revelations.
‘I’m really angry,’ she said. ‘It’s just beyond belief that given the number of times we’ve with met them. We should have been properly grieving in those first few months
‘We should have been given the chance and we deserved the truth.
‘To send that in a text message. I mean seriously who the hell have we got running our country?’
Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles and stepfather Bruce Charles outside the Ministry Of Justice in London late last year
A month after the text message – on October 21 last year – Dominic Rabb gave this account of the Foreign Office reaction to learning Mrs Sacoolas was leaving.
‘We duly and immediately objected in clear and strong terms and we have done ever since.’
ITV News has seen a Foreign Office email copied to Rabb’s Private Secretary three days after the crash outlining what happened. It reveals concern over the potential for ‘some very unpalatable headlines’.
Harry’s parents say they are unable to sue their son’s alleged killer due to a delay in police handing over an accident investigation report. It has also been claimed that Mrs Sacoolas – whom the US has refused to extradite to the UK – is ‘desperate’ to return to Britain to meet Harry’s parents but will not surrender to police custody.
Labour’s new Shadow Foreign Secretary has accused Raab and the Foreign Office of ‘unforgivable failings’ over their handling of the tragic death of Harry Dunn.
Lisa Nandy said meeting Harry’s parents was a ‘heartbreaking reminder of the consequences of a system that protects itself first and puts a grieving family second’.
In an article for the MoS, she wrote: ‘Like them, I am deeply troubled by leaked communications reported by The Mail on Sunday that cast serious doubt on the accuracy of the Government’s timeline of events. I will be reaching out to leading MPs from other political parties to build support for a parliamentary inquiry.’
What happens next for Anne Sacoolas?
Interpol has issued an International Red Notice on Anne Sacoolas, meaning she could be arrested the moment she leaves her home country, the US.
The 42-year-old wife of a US intelligence official was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in the UK in December over the crash that killed 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dunn.
But she left the UK and returned to America claiming diplomatic immunity.
The UK Home Office applied for her to be extradited back to Britain but US authorities blocked the request in January, sparking a diplomatic row.
Now authorities in the UK, understood to be Northamptonshire Police, have asked The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) for help.
Interpol issues Red Notices alerting all member states that a fugitive is wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence in a country where an alleged crime was committed. But it cannot force members to comply.
Since US officials have rejected a request by the UK’s Home Office to extradite Ms Sacoolas it is unlikely she will now arrested by US law enforcement.
However she could be arrested if she leaves the US at any point while the Red Notice is in place.