UK charges US diplomat′s wife over deadly car crash | News | DW | 20.12.2019
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UK charges US diplomat's wife over deadly car crash

British prosecutors will seek to extradite the wife of an American diplomat for the death of a British teenager in a road accident. The driver left the country following the accident, claiming diplomatic immunity.

British prosecutors said Friday they would charge Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American diplomat, over a car crash in England that killed 19-year-old Briton Harry Dunn. Sacoolas admitted to driving the car in the deadly accident but claimed diplomatic immunity protected her from prosecution and left the UK. 

"The Director of Public Prosecutions has met with Harry Dunn's family to explain the basis of the decision we have made following a thorough review of the evidence available," the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement.

Dunn's mother, Charlotte Charles, said the charges meant she had kept her promise of bringing her son justice. 

"We had no idea it was going to be this hard and it would take this long, but we really do feel it is a huge step towards that promise to Harry," she said to reporters.

Charlotte Charles at an anti-Trump demonstration in London during a recent NATO summit there (Getty Images/P. Summers)

Charlotte Charles called for justice for her son during a protest at a recent NATO summit in England

In August, Dunn was riding his motorcycle in Northamptonshire when he was hit and killed by a car driven by Sacoolas, who is married to an American intelligence officer stationed at a US military base in Britain. 

 A family fights for justice

While Sacoolas initially cooperated with local officials, she left Britain shortly after the crash. 

The case set off a diplomatic dispute with the US over whether the driver should be required to return to Britain and face justice. 

Dunn's family campaigned for Sacoolas's return, going as far as to make their case in person to US President Donald Trump. 

Read more: Deaths on German roads increased in 2018

A US State Department spokesperson expressed disappointment at the news on Friday, saying the department fears the move will not help resolve the case. 

"The United States has been clear that, at the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the driver in this case had status that conferred diplomatic immunities," the spokesperson said.

UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, however, welcomed the news. 

"I hope that Anne Sacoolas will now realize the right thing to do is to come back to the UK and cooperate with the criminal justice process," he said. 

In Britain, the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving is 14 years in prison. 

kp/sms (AP, Reuters)

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