Harry Dunn's father praises 'promising' meeting with MP Andrea Leadsom

Harry Dunn’s father praises ‘promising’ meeting with MP Andrea Leadsom who expresses ‘disappointment’ to US ambassador after Anne Sacoolas’ deportation over car crash is blocked

  • Tim Dunn, 50, said today’s meeting with the Business Secretary was ‘promising’
  • Mike Pompeo turned down extradition request for Anne Sacoolas last night
  • Andrea Leadsom described the news as ‘frustrating’ and ‘very disappointing’
  • Motorcyclist Harry Dunn, 19, was killed in a head-on collision with a car in August
  • Ms Sacoolas, 42, is believed to have been driving on the wrong side of the road  
  • She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving but fled the country 

Harry Dunn’s father has described the meeting with Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom as ‘promising’.

Tim Dunn said: ‘Some things we agree on and some things we don’t agree on. But I feel like she’s behind us, I really do.’

Speaking after a meeting with Harry’s family, Ms Leadsom said: ‘We’ve been talking about the frustrating news that the extradition was refused yesterday by the US government.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom (left) pictured with Harry Dunn’s mother (centre), his stepfather Bruce Charles (second right) and family lawyer Radd Seiger (far right)

Harry Dunn (right), 19, died when his motorcycle crashed in a head-on collision with a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas (left), 42, on August 27 last year

‘Obviously Harry’s family are disappointed and very upset by that, but equally very determined that the driver of the car that killed Harry Dunn should be brought back to the United Kingdom to face justice.

‘We are absolutely united in our determination to get justice for Harry.’

Ms Leadsom added: ‘I’ve been talking with Harry’s family about what the next steps are and it will take some time to consider what the government’s next steps should be. But I am working on that with my colleagues in government.’

Ms Leadsom said she could not comment on whether the government would block any future extradition proceedings, adding: ‘We just heard that news last night. It was obviously very disappointing and I will be seeing what more can be done on behalf of Harry’s family.’

Addressing what she said to the US ambassador on Friday morning, Ms Leadsom said: ‘I expressed my disappointment on behalf of Harry’s family, but also really importantly for the local community near to the RAF Croughton base.

‘It’s very concerning that this, which was at its heart a tragic road accident – which does unfortunately happen all the time, right across the world – but in this instance, the fact that there is no justice for Harry, makes the pain of losing him so much worse and that’s what we have to address.’

Pushed on what was said in the meeting with the US ambassador, Ms Leadsom said: ‘I don’t want to comment on that meeting, it was, of course, very cordial.

‘The relationship between the UK and the US is a very deep and long-standing and very good relationship – and we do have frank conversations – but I don’t want to comment on that meeting.’

Tim Dunn, the father of Harry Dunn, outside South Northamptonshire Council offices in Towchester, following today’s meeting with Ms Leadsom

Ms Leadsom and mother Charlotte Charles, who said the meeting went ‘really well’. She said the family are feeling ‘very much supported’ by Ms Leadsom and the rest of the government

The Business Secretary leaving the council offices, following the US’ refusal to extradite Ms Sacoolas. Ms Leadsom described the news as ‘frustrating’ and ‘very disappointing’

Asked if the Prime Minister was going to comment on the case, Ms Leadsom said: ‘The Prime Minister is very much on the side of the family in their desire to see justice done for Harry.

‘All of us in government are working to that end.’

Commenting on the meeting with Ms Leadsom, Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles said: ‘The meeting went well with Andrea – it went really well.

‘There’s points that she’s given us which she’s going to take away and has fully assured us that she’ll be working on, and we’re very much feeling supported by her and the rest of the government.

‘It’s going to take time, it’s not an overnight thing, but we’ll get there.’

Speaking about what the family now wants after the extradition request was refused, Charlotte Charles said: ‘She has to come back.

‘I still don’t understand how she can even live with herself and carry on with her life and drive.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, pictured, has turned down the extradition request for Mrs Sacoolas, family spokesman Mr Seiger said

‘I don’t understand that, she must be made of different stuff to us, I don’t know. But she has to come back, one way or another.’

Meanwhile, the Foreign Secretary has said the Government ‘would have acted differently’ from the US secretary of state after he refused to return the suspect charged with causing the death of Harry Dunn to the UK.

Dominic Raab appeared to suggest he would have agreed to extradite 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas if he was put in the same position as Mike Pompeo.

Mr Raab said the rejection of an extradition request for her ‘amounts to a denial of justice’ and that the Foreign Office believes she should return to the UK.

Earlier today, Harry’s family slammed the ‘indefensible’ US decision to block the deportation of Anne Sacoolas in a ‘dark day for the special relationship’ and demanded a meeting with Boris Johnson.

America yesterday refused to hand over a diplomat’s wife who is accused of killing a 19-year-old British biker in a crash near a US airbase.

Mr Dunn was killed in a head-on collision with a car on August 27 last year near RAF Croughton, in Northamptonshire.

Ms Sacoolas, 42, the wife of a US intelligence official, is believed to have been driving on the wrong side of the road and was charged with causing death by dangerous driving. But she claimed diplomatic immunity and flew to the US.

Asked if the Prime Minister was doing enough, family spokesman Radd Seiger told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I have to say at the moment not. We did not welcome his public comments last week.

‘He is the leader of the gang, he aspired to be Prime Minister. History was made last night when the Americans decided not to return her.

The parents of Harry Dunn, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn (left and centre) along with their family lawyer and representative Radd Seiger (right) pictured together on Good Morning Britain in December

‘That’s the first time in history that the United States has turned down an extradition request. It’s one of the darkest days in the history of this special relationship.

‘Boris Johnson wanted to be Prime Minister, he is now being tested severely. I expect him today to rise to that challenge and come and meet with me and the family and tell us what he’s going to do about it.’ 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the Government is disappointed about the decision not to extradite Harry Dunn crash suspect Anne Sacoolas to the UK, adding: ‘We feel this amounts to a denial of justice, and we believe Anne Sacoolas should return to the UK. We are now urgently considering our options.’ 

Mr Seiger, told MailOnline last night: ‘The family are not at all surprised at these developments and are taking it in their stride having factored it in to their planning and strategy. 

‘This is a lawless corrupt administration that appears intent on attacking even it’s closest international ally. If Trump and Pompeo think this is an end to the matter, they have another thing coming to them. Team Harry will sit down with the Government tomorrow (Fri) and work out our next steps. And next steps there will be. The whole world is on Team Harry’s side. This is not a battle the US Government is going to win.’

Today he told Good Morning Britain: ‘History was made last night. This is the first time the US have ever refused an extradition request from the UK. It’s one of the darkest days in the history of the special relationship.’

He added: ‘It’s a completely indefensible decision both legally and morally.’

Reacting to Mr Raab’s comments on the extradition refusal, the teenager’s family said: ‘We are obviously grateful for any intervention that the Foreign Office (FCO) is making on our behalf.

‘However, the fact remains that the FCO are still defending the judicial review proceedings.

The PM (pictured on BBC Breakfast) played down expectations of a legal breakthrough

‘It remains our position that intelligence officers at RAF Croughton have diplomatic immunity and that if we dare challenge that in court they will seek to effectively make us bankrupt if the we lose the case by forcing us to pay legal costs.

‘That amounts to a huge arm around the US Government’s position that their (the US) personnel are free to come to the UK, kill UK citizens or shed their blood, and then get on the next plane back home.

‘How they have the front to maintain that position after last night’s decision is a complete mystery to us and should trouble everyone on this side of the pond.

‘As things stand, it matters more to the FCO that the status quo be maintained and protected than the lives of their own people and their families’ ability to seek justice in the event of the worst happening.

‘If we have that wrong, they are more than welcome to make that concession now or meet with us to explain why they will not do so.’

Mr Seiger said: ‘What it threw up unfortunately is just the corrupt nature of this [Trump] administration that seems intent upon taking a wrecking ball to every institution there is.’  

Boris Johnson last week said the chance of the suspect ever returning to the UK was very low. 

Mr Seiger last week said the Prime Minister’s comments made on BBC Breakfast were ‘a very powerful blow’ which have ‘done real damage’ to his bid to bring the wife of an American intelligence officer back to Britain to face justice. 

‘I was watching the BBC Breakfast interview in disbelief – my jaw hit the floor,’ he told MailOnline. ‘We are incandescent with rage,’ he said. 

Demanding a greater show of support from the PM, Mr Seiger questioned whether the Mr Johnson is more interested in currying favour with President Trump than supporting the grieving parents of a British citizen. 

‘Boris Johnson’s comments have made my job ten times harder. We were beginning to make real progress,’ he said.

‘We felt that although we weren’t supported by authorities initially, through hard work and dialogue, we were building bridges.

‘Home Secretary Priti Patel reached out – along with our MP Andrea Leadsom – and we were bringing the government and Harry’s family together.

‘When he [Boris Johnson] spoke on BBC Breakfast I was in disbelief. It wasn’t the public line we agreed on.’

Mr Seiger added: ‘It’s not just about Harry anymore, it’s about the ability to allow a sovereign nation to apply the laws of the land to the foreign visitors.

‘Everyone right up to the Home Secretary agrees with this – all except for Boris who is off in La La Land.’

Mr Seiger also revealed that Harry’s mother Charlotte had begun therapy to begin to process his son’s death, adding: ‘It was especially difficult over the holiday season.’  

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