September 19, 2021

Outrage in UK as America REFUSES to waive diplomatic immunity in teen’s death


Outrage has erupted on both sides of the Atlantic after the U.S. refused to waive diplomatic immunity for a diplomat’s wife who is suspected of killing a teenager in a wrong-way crash in the East Midlands of England.

The incident has inflamed both the the British and American public, including an outpouring on Twitter, where one user wrote: ‘This is disgraceful, no way for a so called ally to behave.’ 

In a statement on Saturday, Northamptonshire Police confirmed that the 42-year-old American woman suspected in the August 27 death of Harry Dunn, 19, has returned to the U.S.

Police said the woman had previously informed them that she had no plans to leave the UK. Neither the name of the woman nor her U.S. diplomat spouse has been released.  

Harry Dunn, 19, was killed on August 27 in a car crash near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. The suspect in the crash has fled back to the US with diplomatic immunity

The case has enraged the British public, but there were also cries of fury in America. 

‘As an American citizen I am appalled by her fleeing the country without law enforcement’s completion of their investigation,’ wrote Eddie Burck on the Facebook page Justice4Harry. 

‘I am from the United States and I am appalled by this. I hope the woman that took his life is brought to justice,’ wrote Wade Forrester. 

Britons were also unreserved in their fury. ‘Disgusting. This woman must be made to return to face the justice system!!!’ one wrote on Twitter. 

Superintendent Sarah Johnson with Northamptonshire police said that investigators met with the suspect on the day after the crash in the presence of legal advisors.

‘During the course of that meeting we were aware that diplomatic immunity had been raised as an issue, we then made immediate application for a waiver in order for us to undertake further investigations and interview,’ Johnson told NBC News in an email. 

It was reported in initial findings by police were that Harry had been driving on the correct side of the road when a woman in a car pulled off of the airbase

Diplomatic immunity is a right that extends to holders of diplomatic passports, including the family of embassy and consulate staffers.

A diplomat’s home country can waive the right to immunity, though this is typically only done in the case of serious crimes that are unconnected to their diplomatic role.

Johnson said that in this case, America refused to waive immunity, and that Nothamtonshire investigators later learned that the woman had returned to the U.S.

In a statement, the U.S. State Department said Saturday: ‘We express our deepest sympathies and offer condolences to the family of the deceased in the tragic Aug. 27 traffic accident involving a vehicle driven by the spouse of a U.S. diplomat assigned to the United Kingdom.’ 

‘We can confirm the family has left the U.K.,’ the State Department said. ‘Any questions regarding a waiver of immunity with regard to our diplomats and their family members overseas in a case like this receive careful attention at senior levels.’ 

Harry, of Charlton, Banbury, died after his motorbike collided with a car near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. 

The RAF base is one of the most important bases run by America in Europe. 

It was reported in initial findings by police that Harry had been driving on the correct side of the road when a woman in a car pulled off of the airbase on to the wrong side of the carriageway. 

The car hit Harry head-on and he died soon after in hospital after suffering multiple injuries.

The teenager’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, are now demanding that the suspect return to the UK to face justice, saying they’ve been ‘totally deprived of the ability to grieve’. 

Ms Charles said: ‘We are utterly devastated by Harry’s loss. He was such a precious young man who was loved by all who knew him. 

‘Our lives have been shattered and our only crumb of comfort is the news that Harry was riding perfectly safely that night. He was not at fault in any way.’

She added: ‘However, with the terrible news that the other driver has left the country, seemingly in an attempt to evade justice, we are totally deprived of the ability to grieve and our lives are now painfully on hold.

‘I bear the other driver no ill will. She must be suffering too given what she did, but she must return to the UK to face justice. It is only at that point that my family and I will be able to begin to put our lives back together and move forward from this needless tragedy.’ 

The car hit Harry (pictured when he was younger) head-on and he died soon after in hospital after suffering multiple injuries

Tim Dunn, Harry’s father, added: ‘I echo everything Charlotte says. The pain of our family’s loss is unbearable. My son was taken from us at such a tender age doing what he loved doing the most in life. 

‘We call on the driver and the American authorities to have her come back to the UK to face the legal consequences of her dangerous driving that night. 

‘It is in no one’s interests for her not to do so and would set a terrible precedent if she does not return.’   

Sky News has reported that the suspect involved is the wife of a US diplomat who quickly claimed diplomatic immunity following the incident. 

Speaking to the broadcaster, Ms Charles said: ‘President Trump, please listen. We’re a family in ruin. We’re broken.

‘We can’t grieve. Please, please let her get back on a plane.’    

She added: ‘Everyone loved him, we’re utterly broken inside and out, everything hurts day and night, it’s an effort to do anything, I ache from it, every limb, every internal organ hurts.

‘We don’t know how we can start to grieve for him.

‘We have nothing. No justice. We have nothing to put our minds at rest that she’s even remorseful.’ 

Harry’s mother, Charlotte Charles, (left with his father Tim) received a letter of condolence from US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson

Tributes have been left for Harry following the crash near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27

Police today confirmed a suspect in their investigation had left the country. 

Superintendent Sarah Johnson said: ‘Northamptonshire Police followed all of its usual procedures following the incident, including liaising closely with the suspect, who engaged fully with us at the time and had previously confirmed to us that she had no plans to leave the country in the near future.

‘Due process was also followed in seeking the necessary documentation to allow for the arrest and formal interview of the suspect, and the force is now exploring all opportunities through diplomatic channels to ensure that the investigation continues to progress.

‘We are also working closely with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in an effort to come to a resolution regarding this matter.

‘Harry Dunn’s family deserve justice and in order to achieve this, a full and thorough investigation, with the assistance of all parties involved, needs to take place.

‘Northamptonshire Police is committed to ensuring justice for Harry and specially trained officers continue to support the Dunn family in their loss, including keeping them fully informed of all developments in the investigation.’

Top diplomatic officials are immune from prosecution under diplomatic immunity, as are their deputies and families.

Northamptonshire Police had attempted to apply a waiver that would allow them to continue to investigate and conduct interviews.

But this application was declined.  

 The car hit Harry head-on and he died soon after in hospital after suffering multiple injuries

She had reportedly pulled on to the wrong side of the carriageway as she left the junction

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab became aware of the incident and said: ‘I wish to offer my condolences to the family affected by this tragic incident.

‘I have called the US Ambassador to express the UK’s disappointment with their decision and to urge the Embassy to re-consider it.’

In its own statement provided to Sky News, the US Embassy in London offered its ‘deepest sympathies’ to Mr Dunn’s family following the accident ‘involving a vehicle driven by the spouse of a US diplomat assigned to the United Kingdom’.

It added: ‘Embassy officials are in close contact with the appropriate British officials on this matter.

‘Due to security and privacy considerations, we cannot confirm the identity of the individuals involved, but we can confirm the family has left the UK.’

Harry’s parents, Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles, have received a letter of condolence from US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson.

In it he said that ‘it is with profound sadness’ that he offered his condolences to the family but Mr Johnson made no reference to responsibility. 

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