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Thu, 2 April 2020

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Donald Trump defends US diplomat's wife wanted over death of UK teenager

Donald Trump defends US diplomat's wife wanted over death of UK teenager
3 min read

Donald Trump has appeared to defend an American woman wanted over the death of a British teenager.

Harry Dunn, a 19-year-old motorcyclist, died in hospital following a collision with a car in Northamptonshire in August.

The car is believed to have been driven by Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a UK-based American diplomat, who was allowed to return to the US soon after the incident.

Boris Johnson, who has called for America to send Ms Sacoolas back to Britain to help police with their inquiries, raised the issue in a phone call with President Trump on Wednesday.

Speaking to the media, the president called the incident a “terrible accident” and appeared to offer a defence of Ms Sacoolas's actions.

He 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.

“When you get used to driving on our system and then you’re all of a sudden on the other system where you’re driving – it happens.

“You have to be careful, very careful.”

He said he would speak to Ms Sacoolas, adding: “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.

“It was an accident, it was a terrible accident.” 

But briefing notes photographed as he spoke to reporters suggested that she would not be heading back to the UK to face questioning.

The document tells Mr Trump to repeat that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, that “the spouse of the US Government employee will not return to the United Kingdom”.

Mr Johnson had previously said he did not "think it can be right" for the system to be used in this way.

He added: "I hope Anne Sacoolas will come back and engage properly with the processes of law as they are carried out in this country."

Meanwhile Mr Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn said they felt “let down” by both UK and US governments, and accused a meeting with Mr Raab as feeling like a “publicity stunt”.

Ms Charles said: “I can't really see the point as to why we were invited to see Dominic Raab. We are no further forward than where we were this time last week.

"Part of me is feeling like it was just a publicity stunt on the UK Government side to show they are trying to help.

"But, although he is engaging with us, we have no answers. We are really frustrated that we could spend half an hour or more with him and just come out with nothing."

After the talks Mr Raab said he felt the frustration of the parents, as the justice process “is not being allowed to properly run its course.”

“We are continuing to press the US authorities for their cooperation,” he added. 

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