Harry Dunn crash: President Trump to speak to US suspect

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Media captionMr Trump called Harry Dunn’s death a “terrible accident”

US President Donald Trump has said he will speak to a woman at the centre of a row over diplomatic immunity who is suspected of being involved in a car crash that killed a British teenager.

Harry Dunn, 19, died in a crash with a Volvo in Northamptonshire on 27 August.

Suspect Anne Sacoolas later left the UK to return to the US and was granted diplomatic immunity.

Downing Street confirmed Prime Minister Boris Johnson had urged the US president to reconsider the decision.

Speaking at a press briefing, Mr Trump called Harry’s death a “terrible accident” and confirmed his administration would seek to speak to Ms Sacoolas.

Image copyright Family Photo
Image caption Harry Dunn died in hospital after his motorbike was in a crash with a Volvo

Police have said CCTV of the crash which killed the teenager shows the Volvo travelling on the wrong side of the road.

Speaking after his conversation with the prime minister on Wednesday evening, Mr Trump said: “The woman was driving on the wrong side of the road, and that can happen.

“You know, those are the opposite roads, that happens. I won’t say it ever happened to me, but it did.

“So a young man was killed, the person that was driving the automobile has diplomatic immunity, we’re going to speak to her very shortly and see if we can do something where they meet.”

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Media captionDunn family on Raab meeting: “We feel let down”

Harry Dunn died after his Kawasaki motorcycle was in a crash with a black Volvo XC90 close to RAF Croughton, a US Air Force communications station.

Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley said “based on CCTV evidence”, officers knew “a vehicle alighted from the RAF base at Croughton” and was “on the wrong side of the road”.

Radd Seiger, a lawyer acting on behalf of Harry’s family, told the Sarah Brett Programme on BBC Radio 5 Live that he hoped Mr Trump was “good for his word”.

But he said he did not feel it was a firm commitment from the president and would like to know when the meeting would take place.

He also asked when Mr Trump would “reach out” to Harry’s parents, Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles, who are planning to travel to Washington as soon as possible.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles felt there was little point to their meeting with the foreign secretary

Number 10 said the prime minister urged Mr Trump to reconsider the decision to allow Ms Sacoolas immunity in order that “the individual involved can return to the UK, cooperate with police and allow Harry’s family to receive justice”.

Earlier, Harry’s parents described a meeting with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Wednesday as a “publicity stunt”.

Ms Charles said she felt “let down” by both the UK and US governments, and Mr Dunn added: “I’m deeply, deeply disappointed that they think it’s okay to kill a young lad on his bike and they can just walk away.”

Following the meeting, Mr Raab said the justice process was “not being allowed to properly run its course”.

What is diplomatic immunity?

About 23,000 individuals in the UK have diplomatic immunity, a status reserved for foreign diplomats and their families, as long as they don’t have British citizenship.

It is granted by the 1961 Vienna Convention and means that, in theory, diplomats cannot face court proceedings for any crime or civil case.

The convention also states that those entitled to immunity are expected to obey the law.

Where crimes are committed, the Foreign Office can ask a foreign government to waive immunity where they feel it is appropriate.

Diplomatic immunity is by no means restricted to those named on the Diplomatic List from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Drivers, cooks and other support staff whose names do not appear, but have been accredited to Britain (“the receiving state”) have the same diplomatic status and immunity as those who are listed.

Equally, there are a number of foreign nationals in Britain attached to international organisations who have the same status and protection.



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