U.S. Diplomat’s Wife Flees Britain After Killing Motorcyclist in Accident
Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a U.S. diplomat stationed in the United Kingdom, is wanted by British police over the death of motorcyclist Harry Dunn, 19, in Northamptonshire on August 27. She has since fled the country despite being formally named a suspect.
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Prime minister Boris Johnson is urging the United States to reconsider giving Sacoolas immunity after she left the UK.
The US State Department said diplomatic immunity was “rarely waived.”
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has already urged the US Embassy to reconsider, raised Mr Dunn’s case in a conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said Mr Raab “reiterated his disappointment with the US decision and urged them to reconsider.”
Under the 1961 Vienna Convention, diplomats and their family members are immune from prosecution in their host country, as long as they are not nationals of that country. However, their immunity can be waived by the state that has sent them.
Ms Sacoolas left the UK despite telling police she had no such plans.
Anne Elizabeth Sacoolas allegedly struck and killed 19-year-old Harry Dunn with her Volvo XC90 while driving the wrong way on August 27. The crash occurred near RAF Croughton, a British Royal Air Force base. Dunn was riding a Kawasaki motorcycle.
Sacoolas’ 12-year-old son was reportedly in the front seat of her car at the time of the crash. Sacoolas is said to have admitted liability after getting out of her car, but when police went to her home at the Croughton base and told her Dunn had died, lawyers and U.S. Embassy officials stepped in.
Anne Sacoolas was born Anne Goodwin in South Carolina, according to a wedding announcement published in 2003 in the Aiken Standard, her hometown newspaper. She graduated from South Aiken High School and then studied at the University of South Carolina, where she earned a degree in psychology, according to the wedding announcement.
At the time of her wedding, Sacoolas was working for the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. She and her husband, Jonathan Sacoolas, were married on April 12, 2003, at Wakefield Chapel in Annandale, Virginia.
Jonathan Sacoolas is originally from Salem, Oregon, and graduated from South Salem High School and the University of Southern California, where he earned a degree in electrical engineering. At the time of his wedding, he was working for the Department of Defense in Washington D.C.
Radd Seiger, a lawyer representing the Dunn family, told British media that Sacoolas was a senior spy based in the U.K. “He was working at Croughton, which is a communications base, so he was working with intelligence which is, I guess, why it has been handled in the way that it has.”