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Andrea Leadsom says UK 'stands shoulder to shoulder' with Harry Dunn family after US rejects extradition bid

Andrea Leadsom says UK 'stands shoulder to shoulder' with Harry Dunn family after US rejects extradition bid
3 min read

The UK government "stands shoulder to shoulder" with the family of Harry Dunn after America refused to extradite a diplomat's wife involved his death, according to Andrea Leadsom.


The Business Secretary spoke out after the US State Department said sending Anne Sacoolas to Britain "would set an extraordinarily troubling precedent".

Mrs Sacoolas has been charged by the Crown Prosecution Service in connection with the death of 19-year-old Mr Dunn, who was killed when his motorcycle collided with a car outside a US military base in Northamptonshire last August.

In a statement on Thursday night, the State Department said: "At the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the US citizen driver in this case had immunity from criminal jurisdiction.

"If the United States were to grant the UK's extradition request, it would render the invocation of diplomatic immunity a practical nullity and would set an extraordinarily troubling precedent."

A spokesperson for the Home Office said they were "disappointed in the decision which appears to be a denial of justice.

"We are urgently considering our options," they added.

Ms Leadsom , who is the Dunn family's local MP, is due to press their case at a meeting with US Ambassador Woody Johnson on Friday.

She said: "At its heart this was a road traffic accident where a lovely young man with his life ahead of him died.

"Diplomatic immunity should not be at play here, the person who has been charged by the CPS must be brought back the UK to stand trial we stand shoulder to shoulder with Harry's family to get justice done."

The UK was set to launch official extradition procedures later this month after repeated pleas for Mrs Sacoolas to return to the country voluntarily were dismissed.

But a formal request to turn over the American was denied on Thursday evening, with a statement from Washington saying it would render diplomatic immunity a "practical nullity and would set an extraordinarily troubling precedent".

Radd Sieger, who is the Dunn family's spokesman, said they were "not at all surprised" by the decision.

"This is a lawless, corrupt administration that appears intent on attacking even its closest international ally," Mr Sieger said.

"If Trump and Pompeo think this is an end to the matter, they have another thing coming to them."

He added: "We'll simply take it in our stride. Everybody's relaxed, we knew this day was coming.

"Team Harry will sit down with the government tomorrow and work out our next steps.

"And next steps there will be. The whole world is on team Harry's side. This is not a battle the US government is going to win."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously admitted the chances of Mrs Sacoolas returning to the UK were slim after President Trump described Mr Dunn's death as a "terrible accident".

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