Boris Johnson says Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has again raised Harry Dunn case with US Secretary of State ahead of court hearing in Virginia
- Dominic Raab spoke to US Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Boris Johnson said
- It comes ahead of a hearing at the Alexandria district court in Virginia today
- Timetable for Harry Dunn’s alleged killer to give evidence to be set at hearing
- Last month a judge ruled claim against Anne Sacoolas can go ahead in the US
Boris Johnson has revealed the Foreign Secretary again raised the death of Harry Dunn with the US Secretary of State ahead of a court hearing today.
Dominic Raab spoke to US official Tony Blinken before the hearing at the Alexandria district court in Virginia.
A timetable for Mr Dunn’s alleged killer Anne Sacoolas to give evidence in a civil claim for damages against her is expected to be set at the hearing.
In February, a judge ruled the substantive claim against Sacoolas can go ahead in the US, despite the suspect’s motion to dismiss it.
A timetable for Harry Dunn’s alleged killer Anne Sacoolas to give evidence in a civil claim for damages against her is expected to be set at the hearing in Virginia today
While making the application, lawyers acting on behalf of Sacoolas made admissions about the 43-year-old’s employment at the time of the road crash which killed Mr Dunn – saying she and her husband Jonathan worked for the US state department and ‘fled’ the UK due to ‘issues of security’.
The US government asserted diplomatic immunity on behalf of the suspect following the 19-year-old’s death in August 2019 outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, and she was able to return to her home country.
She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but an extradition request, submitted by the Home Office, was rejected by the US state department in January last year.
The PM confirmed to the Dunn family’s constituency MP Andrea Leadsom on Wednesday that the UK Government continues raise the case ‘at the highest level’.
The US government asserted diplomatic immunity on behalf of the suspect following the 19-year-old’s death in August 2019 outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, and she was able to return to her home country. Pictured, Mr Dunn
Asked at Prime Minister’s Questions if he could try to persuade President Joe Biden to deliver justice for Mr Dunn, Boris Johnson said: ‘She’s completely right to continue to raise the case of Harry Dunn and we sympathise deeply with his family.
‘It’s a case that we continue to raise at the highest level and I know that my Right Honourable Friend the Foreign Secretary has only just raised it now with Tony Blinken, the US secretary of state.’
On Wednesday, Sacoolas’s legal representatives will submit motions to dismiss certain parts of the civil claim – including an application to pay compensation amounting only to Mr Dunn’s funeral costs.
The Dunn family also brought the damages claim against Mr Sacoolas, due to Virginia’s laws suggesting he is liable for allowing his wife to use the car which killed the teenager.
Judge Thomas Ellis allowed the case to remain in the US and dismissed Sacoolas’s application against the substantive civil claim, citing her ‘refusal’ to return to the UK.
Asked at Prime Minister’s Questions if he could try to persuade President Joe Biden to deliver justice, Boris Johnson said: ‘It’s a case that we continue to raise at the highest level and I know that my Right Honourable Friend the Foreign Secretary (pictured) has only just raised it’
Handing his judgement down last month, the judge said: ‘While it is commendable that defendant Anne Sacoolas admits that she was negligent and that her negligence caused Harry Dunn’s death, this does not equate acceptance of responsibility.
‘Full acceptance of responsibility entails facing those harmed by her negligence and taking responsibility for her acts where they occurred, in the United Kingdom.’
After throwing out Sacoolas’s motion to dismiss, Judge Ellis is expected to set a timetable on Wednesday for the suspect to give evidence in a ‘deposition’ ahead of a trial to be held in Virginia later this year.
WHY ARE AMERICANS AT RAF CROUGHTON IN THE UK?
RAF Croughton is an air base that is currently being leased by the US government.
It houses the 422nd Air Base Group, but is also being used by spies working for the Joint Intelligence Operations Center Europe (JIOCEUR).
JIOCEUR is a military intelligence analysis center which is part of the Defense Intelligence Agency. The agency is an external branch of government which provides intelligence to ‘warfighters, defense policymakers and force planners in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community’.
The entrance to RAF Croughton is shown. Sacoolas was exiting the base when she turned onto the wrong side of the road on August 27
It provides intelligence information for the U.S. European and African commands as well as NATO.
The Center is based at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire but, following the 2015 announcement that it was to close in 2023, many of the positions were moved to Croughton.
There are plans to consolidate it with the U.S. Africa Command to make a larger station at Croughton that will be known as the Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex – a major hub for US intelligence gathering.
According to locals in Croughton, the communications center – where Sacoolas’ husband is said to work – is a ‘site within the site’ which has its own separate security.
The US government is reconsidering the relocation after being met with resistance from lawmakers who said it would be too expensive.
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