Harry Dunn's father meets Priti Patel amid extradition talks

  • Published
Harry DunnImage source, Family Photo
Image caption,
Harry Dunn died in hospital after his motorbike was involved in a crash outside RAF Croughton

Harry Dunn's father has met the home secretary, as her department considers requesting the extradition of a US woman charged over his death.

Priti Patel visited the Dunn family lawyer's home in Northamptonshire.

The meeting comes after suspect Anne Sacoolas was charged by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The family said they were "incredibly reassured" to meet Ms Patel, who was accompanied by their local MP Andrea Leadsom.

Image caption,
Priti Patel and Andrea Leadsom met the Dunn family at the home of the family's lawyer in the village of Charlton

The home secretary said she had met the family to explain the extradition process to them and spoken to Mr Dunn's father, Tim Dunn.

She said: "It was a nice opportunity to hear from them, obviously about what they have been experiencing, what they have been going through, and to reassure them at what has been a very difficult and traumatic time for them."

Family spokesman Radd Seiger said they were now "incredibly reassured this whole saga will be dealt with under the rule of law".

"You hear from some of the most senior politicians in this country... they are going to go to bed tonight feeling reassured."

Image caption,
Harry's father Tim Dunn thanked the home secretary for the meeting

Mr Dunn said it had been a "positive meeting" and a "great way to end the year", but Christmas would be difficult without his son.

He said: "He loved Christmas... people have one Christmas jumper, Harry would have four... every day he would be wearing one."

Image caption,
Friends of Harry Dunn put up a Christmas tree and decorations around his banner outside RAF Croughton on Sunday

Mr Dunn's mother, Charlotte Charles, did not attend the meeting.

Mr Dunn, 19, died in August after his motorbike was in collision with a car driven by Mrs Sacoolas outside RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, where her husband worked as an intelligence officer.

Mrs Sacoolas left for the US under diplomatic immunity, but on Friday was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, following a campaign by Mr Dunn's family.

Image caption,
The home secretary hugged Mr Dunn during the meeting

Mrs Leadsom said there was a "clear process" of extradition.

She added: "There's a clear extradition treaty and it is absolutely vital that we get justice for Harry."

Media caption,

"A huge step": Harry's mother reacts to the charge

Mr Dunn's mother had said the family was "relieved" the 42-year-old suspect had finally been charged.

But US officials said it was not "a helpful development" and Mrs Sacoolas' lawyer said she would not return to the UK "to face a potential jail sentence for what was a terrible but unintentional accident".

After it confirmed Mrs Sacoolas had been charged, the CPS said extradition proceedings had started, noting that the "Home Office is responsible for considering our request and deciding whether to formally issue this through US diplomatic channels".

"Our specialist extradition team will be working closely with the UK Central Authority at the Home Office to do this," it added.

Can Anne Sacoolas be extradited?

The extradition request is sent via the British Embassy to the US State Department.

A lawyer will then decide whether it falls under the dual-criminality treaty, where the alleged offence is a crime in both countries and carries a prison sentence of at least a year.

The maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years' imprisonment, although this is usually reserved for the most serious cases.

The US may reject the request for extradition, arguing that Mrs Sacoolas is still entitled to diplomatic immunity.

A statement from Amy Jeffress, Mrs Sacoolas's lawyer, said she had "co-operated fully with the investigation and accepted responsibility".

It added: "This was an accident, and a criminal prosecution with a potential penalty of 14 years' imprisonment is simply not a proportionate response.

"We have been in contact with the UK authorities about ways in which Anne could assist with preventing accidents like this from happening in the future, as well as her desire to honour Harry's memory.

"We will continue that dialogue in an effort to move forward from this terrible tragedy."

Image source, Aiken Standard Archive
Image caption,
Anne Sacoolas pictured on her wedding day in 2003

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