An America diplomat’s wife who killed a UK teen motorcyclist in a 2019 wrong-way crash was “employed by an intelligence agency in the US” at the time of the accident, according to her attorney.
Anne Sacoolas, 43, has admitted that she was driving on the wrong side of the road as she left a US airbase in central England in August 2019 when her car was involved in a crash with 19-year-old Harry Dunn’s motorbike.
She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but the US State Department rejected a request to extradite her to Britain to face trial because of diplomatic immunity.
Sacoolas’s lawyer John McGavin said she was “employed by an intelligence agency in the US” at the time of the crash — which was “especially a factor” in her departure from the UK, Sky News reported.
Her employment calls into question the claim of diplomatic immunity since under the agreements at RAF Croughton dating back to 1995, any American working at the base as part of the “administrative and technical staff” would have their immunity pre-waived, according to the outlet.
That means they would not be immune from criminal jurisdiction, Sky News reported.
But a Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement: “The UK High Court has found that Anne Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity while in the country under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”
Responding to the development, Harry’s mother, Charlotte Charles, told Sky News: “It’s pretty hard to get my head around, I can’t quite move past it.”
Radd Seiger, a spokesman for Dunn’s family, said that “given the admission in open court by Mrs. Sacoolas’s counsel that she was employed by US intelligence services at the time of the crash, the UK authorities must now urgently reinvestigate whether she had diplomatic immunity.
“They have to investigate given that employees had their immunity pre-waived under the 1995 RAF Croughton legal agreement,” Seiger added, according to the report.
McGavin said his client had “fled” the UK due to “issues of security,” adding that he could not “completely candidly” explain the reason.
“I know the answer but I cannot disclose it,” he said, adding that Sacoolas was “currently apologetic” and has “accepted responsibility for the accident.”
He added that there had been “fear” that because of the “media attention, she would not have a fair trial.”
President Joe Biden and former President Trump have both declined to send Sacoolas back to the UK, saying the US rejection of the extradition request is “final.”
The Dunn family also has made a civil claim for damages against Sacoolas and her application to dismiss the claim is being heard at the Alexandria District Court in Virginia.