The US has said an extradition request for the woman charged with the death of teenager Harry Dunn is “highly inappropriate”.
It comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel formally sent an extradition notice to the US Justice Department for Anne Sacoolas over the accident which killed the 19-year-old.
Mrs Sacoolas left the UK after the car she was driving hit Mr Dunn’s motorbike outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August.
In December, she was charged by the Crown Prosecution Service with death by dangerous driving.
Image: Harry Dunn, 19, was riding his motorbike when he was hit
She is still in the US having claimed diplomatic immunity shortly after the accident. Her husband is a diplomat, thought to be a US intelligence officer.
A US State Department spokesperson expressed “deepest sympathies” for the family and said it the country continues “to look for options for moving forward”.
However, they maintained that Mrs Sacoolas had immunity at the time of the incident and that extraditing her “would establish an extraordinarily troubling precedent”.
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“Under the circumstances of this case, we strongly believe that an extradition request would be highly inappropriate,” added the spokesperson.
But Radd Seiger, a spokesman for the Dunn family, described the home secretary’s move as a “significant day” and said he was still confident she would face justice in Britain.
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He told Sky News: “Everything they have been through it’s a very, very significant day toward the promise that they made to their son the night that he died, which is they would get him justice.
“We are much, much closer now than we were a few months ago when they were told nobody would be held accountable.
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“I am 100% sure that Anne Sacoolas will be back in the UK to face the justice system. Anne Sacoolas has to come back and she will come back, I have no doubt.
“The precedent that she would set if she doesn’t come back would be unimaginable.”
He added: “I fundamentally believe as Harry did and Harry’s parents, that no one is above the law, whether you’re a diplomat or not, diplomatic immunity does not give you a get out of jail free card in these circumstances.”
Image: The accident happened at RAF Croughton, a US airbase
The family’s MP, Andrea Leadsom, has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask him to meet Harry’s parents over the case.
She wrote: “I have met Harry’s parents a number of times and they are understandably finding it extremely difficult to start to grieve for their son fully until there is some closure in the case.
“Though they understand that you are of course extremely busy, a face-to-face meeting would go a long way to assure them that the case and their concerns are being taken seriously.”
Last month, a lawyer for Mrs Sacoolas suggested a potentially long jail sentence over the accident was “unworthy of someone of her standing”.
Amy Jeffress said the possible 14-year prison sentence was “not a proportionate response” for what was “a terrible but unintentional accident”, while the US State Department said the extradition of a former diplomat’s wife would be an “egregious abuse”.
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “Following the Crown Prosecution Service’s charging decision, the Home Office has sent an extradition request to the United States for Anne Sacoolas on charges of causing death by dangerous driving.
“This is now a decision for the US authorities.”
Source : Sky News