FACE JUS­TICE FOR MY SON

From one mother to an­other, ag­o­nised plea to diplo­mat’s wife who fled to U.S. af­ter fa­tal crash

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Claire Duf­fin, Arthur Mar­tin and Ja­son Groves

A GRIEV­ING mother yes­ter­day begged an Amer­i­can diplo­mat’s wife to face jus­tice over a crash that killed her son.

Char­lotte Charles said Anne Sa­coolas must an­swer questions over the death of Harry, 19.

The 42-year-old mother of three has fled to the US where she is hid­ing be­hind diplo­matic im­mu­nity.

‘All we need to do is ask her to come back,’ said Mrs Charles, 44. ‘It’s not much to ask. She’s left a fam­ily in com­plete ruin. We’re bro­ken.’

Lon­don and Wash­ing­ton were locked in an ex­tra­or­di­nary stand­off last night over the is­sue. For­eign Sec­re­tary Do­minic Raab has been urg­ing US am­bas­sador Woody John­son and

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo to re­con­sider their pro­tec­tion for Mrs Sa­coolas.

How­ever a For­eign Of­fice source said Mr Pom­peo gave no in­di­ca­tion that the US would back down. Boris John­son, who in­sists Mrs Sa­coolas must re­turn to Bri­tain, will chal­lenge Don­ald Trump if there is no progress within 48 hours.

Mrs Charles said: ‘This sup­posed amaz­ing re­la­tion­ship with the US needs to be used to its full po­ten­tial.’

Mrs Sa­coolas is wanted for ques­tion­ing over the fa­tal crash in­volv­ing her Volvo and Harry’s mo­tor­cy­cle out­side an RAF base in Northamp­ton­shire. Po­lice say she was on the wrong side of the road.

Most staff given diplo­matic im­mu­nity work for the CIA, ac­cord­ing to a for­mer in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial. ‘If the CIA was in­volved then they would have had her out of there be­fore the am­bas­sador even knew,’ the source told The Times. In other de­vel­op­ments:

It emerged that Mrs Sa­coolas has a driv­ing con­vic­tion in the US;

Northamp­ton­shire Po­lice said they had no idea when she fled;

Wash­ing­ton was ac­cused of hypocrisy be­cause it had suc­ceeded in hav­ing im­mu­nity re­voked in crim­i­nal cases in­volv­ing for­eign diplo­mats posted in the US;

And last year Bri­tain re­scinded the im­mu­nity of a UK diplo­mat’s hus­band so he could be charged with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Harry, who worked at a petrol sta­tion, was on his way to his fa­ther’s house in Brack­ley, Northamp­ton­shire, when the col­li­sion hap­pened out­side RAF Croughton, a US in­tel­li­gence hub. The teenager, who had clocked up 50,000 miles on mo­tor­cy­cles, suf­fered hor­rific in­juries and died in hos­pi­tal.

Mrs Sa­coolas, who had her 12year-old son in the car, was spo­ken to by po­lice the fol­low­ing day – Au­gust 28 – and said she had no plans to leave the UK.

Of­fi­cers be­came aware im­mu­nity was an is­sue be­cause her hus­band was a diplo­mat and ap­plied to the US em­bassy for a waiver to al­low them to ques­tion her.

But they were later in­formed the waiver had been re­fused and Mrs Sa­coolas had left the coun­try.

Mrs Charles, who works in a GP surgery, said: ‘The po­lice had the CCTV footage show­ing she pulled out of the RAF base onto the wrong side of the road. Harry had no chance of avoid­ing her. She trav­elled from around 350 to 400 yards on the wrong side of the road. It was a head-on col­li­sion. We later lost him in hos­pi­tal.’

Harry’s fa­ther Tim Dunn, who is sep­a­rated from Mrs Charles, added: ‘She was com­pli­ant with the po­lice, she ad­mit­ted at the time she was in the wrong.’

Mrs Charles said the fam­ily would travel to Wash­ing­ton if nec­es­sary to fight for jus­tice for Harry, who had a twin brother Niall.

She said she just wanted to speak to Mrs Sa­coolas ‘as a mum’, adding: ‘We’re a usual UK fam­ily that just need to put a face to what we have now as a name.

‘Talk to her, find out how she’s feel­ing. She’s got to be suf­fer­ing as well – she’s a mum. With­out know­ing who this per­son is prop­erly, we can’t be­gin to try and start our griev­ing process.’ A gov­ern­ment source said of Mr Raab’s call to Mr Pom­peo: ‘The For­eign Sec­re­tary re­it­er­ated our po­si­tion, ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment with the US de­ci­sion and urged him to re­con­sider.’

It is un­der­stood that US of­fi­cials fear that hand­ing Mrs Sa­coolas over would set a dan­ger­ous prece­dent. But British of­fi­cials point out that the UK has been will­ing to waive im­mu­nity in se­ri­ous cases in­clud­ing that of Youssef Am­roche, the 37-year-old hus­band of a British diplo­mat in New York.

He was ac­cused of beat­ing his wife, who worked for the UK am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, at their apart­ment.

Po­lice ar­rested Mr Am­roche, a Mo­roc­can cit­i­zen, but had to re­lease him. New York City Hall ex­pressed grat­i­tude to Bri­tain when the pros­e­cu­tion of Mr Am­roche was al­lowed to pro­ceed.

An­other case in­volved Gue­orgui Makharadze, a Georgian diplo­mat who crashed his car into a line of ve­hi­cles in Wash­ing­ton in 1997, killing a teenage girl. He was jailed for 21 years af­ter the US asked Ge­or­gia to waive his im­mu­nity.

Mr John­son said yes­ter­day: ‘I hope Anne Sa­coolas will come back and will en­gage prop­erly with the pro­cesses of law as they are car­ried out in this coun­try.’

Northamp­ton­shire’s chief con­sta­ble Nick Ad­der­ley said: ‘ We were given some as­sur­ances by the Amer­i­can au­thor­i­ties that she would co- op­er­ate fully with the po­lice and that she would not be leav­ing the coun­try. And then the next minute we found out that, ac­tu­ally, she and her fam­ily had left. It was re­ally dis­ap­point­ing.’

The US em­bassy in Lon­don con­firmed de­tails of the case and said im­mu­nity was rarely waived.

Mrs Sa­coolas could not be reached for com­ment yes­ter­day.

She and hus­band Jonathan ar­rived in Au­gust and their three chil­dren were en­rolled at £19,000-ayear Winch­ester House school in Brack­ley. Harry’s fa­ther is head of main­te­nance there.

Tears: Char­lotte Charles on TV Fa­tal in­juries: Harry Dunn In­set: Anne Sa­coolas

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