The UK and the US are reportedly embroiled in diplomatic turmoil over the killing of teenager Harry Dunn by Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence official, according to The Mail on Sunday.
Officials in Washington were allegedly “furious” to learn that police in the UK had filed an international wanted notice for Ms. Sacoolas - herself a former CIA agent - after she killed 19-year-old Harry last August in a head-on collision. It was later revealed that Ms. Sacoolas had been driving on the wrong side of the road outside a US military base in Northamptonshire when she slammed into Harry who was riding his motorbike.
Sacoolas, 42 whose husband was based at Royal Air Force (RAF) Croughton, promptly fled the UK back to the US after the incident, claiming diplomatic immunity.
According to the Mail’s reporting, Prime Minister Boris Johnson last Thursday assembled senior members of his cabinet for crisis talks, including Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel, after the Trump Administration “went berserk” that they had not been informed about the UK police’s intention to send an Interpol request for Sacoolas’ arrest if she leaves the US.
Over the weeks, it has became increasingly apparent that the Trump Administration’s patience with UK authorities is wearing thin as Northamptonshire Police and the Dunn family’s lawyer continue to demand Sacoolas’ extradition to the UK to face justice.
The Mail revealed that the Interpol order was not a ‘Red Notice’ - the highest level most wanted status sent to all member states - as initially reported, but was instead a ‘Red Diffusion Notice’ that was sent to a select number of countries and, according to the crime busting organisation, is a “less formal” mechanism. However, it still provides the mandate to arrest an individual and to then extradite them to a third country.
The Trump Administration is refusing to send Sacoolas back to the UK to face trial and was therefore, “deliberately not told about the plan in the hope she [Sacoolas] would leave the country and could be arrested and sent to face trial in Britain.”
However, The Mail says that Northamptonshire Police are being blamed by the highest levels of government for news of the notice leaking into the public sphere. Allegedly, the plot to grab Sacoolas was being hatched by the UK Crown Prosecution Service and the National Crime Agency.
A law enforcement source told the Mail that, “if she had slipped across the border for a Canadian holiday, we would have had her, but that’s blown now.”
Subsequently, the police fore were “pressured” to issue a pubic statement in which they distanced themselves from the leak of the Interpol order.
During last week’s crisis meeting, Boris Johnson’s cabinet reportedly looked at ending an obscure legal loophole that allowed the Trump Administration to argue that Sacoolas could claim diplomatic immunity because her husband worked as a US government representative at the RAF Croughton base. When a waiver from criminal prosecution was written up in the 1990s for those Americans working at the base, it did not mention spouses, allowing the US Justice Department room to argue that Sacoolas was immune from legal action.
Ms. Sacoolas was charged by UK authorities with causing death by dangerous driving back in December 2019, but an extradition request submitted by the Home Office was shot down in January by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has since said that the decision to protect Sacoolas from prosecution in the UK is “final.”