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Wife of American spy fled Britain ‘from a US air force base’ after ‘killing 19-year-old men in hit-and-run car crash’
- Anne Sacoolas, 42, fled country after 19-year-old Harry Dunn was killed in crash
- Mrs Sacoolas has reportedly been in Britain for three weeks when it happened
- She reportedly fled on a private flight from a US airbase with her three children
- Family said they don’t want to see Mrs Sacoolas to go to jail but desire justice
Anne Sacoolas, 42, fled the country after 19-year-old Harry Dunn was killed in a head-on collision as she left RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire
The wife of a US intelligence agent accused of killing a teenager while driving on the wrong side of the road was flown out of Britain on a private flight, it has emerged.
Anne Sacoolas, 42, fled the country after 19-year-old Harry Dunn was killed in a head-on collision as she left RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.
The mother-of-three claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution, despite not being on the official London diplomatic list.
She instead used diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention, which applied through her husband Jonathan Sacoolas, 43.
Such immunity is extended to intelligence officers, families and other Americans staff on military bases including RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, where the crash took place.
Mrs Sacoolas was allegedly driving her right-hand drive Volvo on the wrong side of the road when the crash happened. Mr Dunn was riding his motorbike and died of his injuries in hospital the following day.
Northamptonshire Police, which is investigating Mrs Sacoolas on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, said on Tuesday they had no idea how Mrs Sacoolas left the country.
The Sacoolas family, including their three children, were flown out of Mildenhall, the US airbase in Suffolk, following the incident in late August, The Telegraph reports.
Mrs Sacoolas was allegedly driving her right-hand drive Volvo on the wrong side of the road when the crash happened. Mr Dunn was riding his motorbike and died of his injuries in hospital the following day
It is understood that the family had only been in Britain for three weeks when the crash occurred, and that one of her children was in the car at the time.
Following Mr Dunn’s death, the Sacoolas’ have stayed under the radar and avoided detection at their home in Virginia, near to the CIA headquarters at Langley.
Mr Dunn’s father, Tim Dunn, who described Harry as ‘the centrepiece of the family and an amazing lad’, said it was only later the family heard the shocking news that she had left the UK, despite allegedly promising the police she was going to stay.
Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte, left, and Tim, appeared on This Morning to beg the woman accused of killing him to return to Britain to face justice
Harry’s mother, Charlotte Charles, told This Morning: ‘We were shocked. Not only mother to mother, but to one set of parents to another. Why did she think it was kind or humane to get on a plane and flee?
‘People can’t understand why you would just flee. We want to know why she thought it was the right thing to do.’
The couple insist they only want Mrs Sacoolas to return so she has to face up to what she has done, and do not want to see her behind bars.
Ms Charles, who works at a GP surgery, said: ‘We don’t want to take her away from being a mum.
‘We were happy to work with the police to have her charge reduce from death by dangerous driving to careless driving so she would get a suspended sentence.
‘She’s had six weeks now to come forward. I hope she’s going to come back of her own accord.’
Previously, she told the BBC she had heard ‘absolutely nothing’ from Mrs Sacoolas since the crash: ‘That’s one of the hardest things that we are having to deal with.
‘Now we have got a name and face but still nothing – it just seems inhumane. It doesn’t feel right.’
The crash took place in August outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire (pictured) – a US intelligence hub in Britain
Boris Johnson spoke about the case yesterday as he met mental health professionals at Watford General Hospital on Monday
It recently emerged that Mrs Sacoolas has a previous driving conviction. In 2006, she was fined £200 in Virginia for ‘failure to pay full time and attention’.
How was Anne Sacoolas able to flee back to the US as British police investigated?
Anne Sacoolas appears to have been able to use a loophole to claim diplomatic immunity after allegedly killing Harry Dunn in a crash involving her Volvo SUV.
It was believed that diplomatic immunity only applied to US officials – and their families – if they worked at the US Embassy in London.
But it appears that because of the work done at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire – a US intelligence hub in Britain – the same applies there.
Sky News claims an immunity deal between the UK and US there started in 1994.
As a result Northamptonshire Police were planning to get Anne Sacoolas to sign a ‘waiver of diplomatic immunity’ – but she, her husband and their children fled.
‘Failure to pay full time and attention’ is a charge that usually concerns drivers caught making phone calls while driving. Traffic lane discipline is also commonly linked with the charge.
Mrs Sacoolas’ husband, Jonathan, works at RAF Croughton, which US intelligence personnel use.
Their children were enrolled at the £24,500-a-year Winchester House private school in Brackley, where Mr Dunn’s father worked at as head of maintenance.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to contact US President Donald Trump if the country does not revoke Sacoolas’ diplomatic immunity.
He vowed to make contact with Mr Trump as well as the US ambassador and said he hoped the matter will be ‘resolved’.
Nick Adderley, chief constable of Northamptonshire police, has written to US ambassador Woody Johnson to call for Mrs Sacoolas’ immunity to be revoked.
The US Embassy said it would not comment on the identity of the driver who allegedly hit Mr Dunn.
A spokesman said that requests to strip diplomatic immunity garner ‘attention at senior levels’ but admitted that it is rare to waive immunity.
Mr Johnson says that he will tell Donald Trump (pictured on Friday) that diplomatic immunity should not be used in cases like these
Harry is pictured with his mother, Charlotte, in an undated photograph provided by the family
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.
A file photo of a geodesic dome covering radar scanners and satellite dishes at the base. It is an intelligence gathering hub which the US Defense Intelligence Agency uses to collect information from Europe and Africa
The car hit Harry (pictured on his bike) head-on and he died soon after in hospital after suffering multiple injuries
The car hit Harry (pictured when he was younger) head-on and he died soon after in hospital after suffering multiple injuries
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