British prosecutors on Friday authorised police to charge the wife of a U.S. diplomat, Anne Sacoolas. with causing the death of a young motorcyclist.
British 19-year-old Harry Dunn was killed on Aug. 27 after Sacoolas’ car allegedly crashed into his motorcycle in Northamptonshire in central England.
Sacoolas was interviewed by police but she subsequently left the country, arguing that she was immune from prosecution as the wife of a U.S. diplomat.
Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said extradition proceedings had begun as they announced the go-ahead for charges to be brought for causing death by dangerous driving.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the decision to charge Sacoolas is “an important step towards justice” and called on Sacoolas to do the “right thing” and come back to Britain to cooperate with the criminal process.
But it is now up to Britain’s Home Office to consider the extradition request and decide whether to formally issue it through U.S. diplomatic channels, the CPS said in a statement.
Reactions from the U.S. government and Sacoolas also cast doubt on whether she would ever return to face the charges.
A lawyer for Sacoolas said she “will not return voluntarily to the UK to face a potential jail sentence,” according to Britain’s Sky News.
The U.S. State Department said it was “disappointed” by the decision to charge and reiterated that the U.S. considers Sacoolas to be covered by diplomatic immunity.
“We do not believe that the UK’s charging decision is a helpful development,” the State Department added.
Charlotte Charles, Dunn’s mother, greeted the move as a “huge step” towards seeking the justice she had promised her son.
She said: “My son died on Aug. 27, doing what he loved most, riding his beloved motorbike,” she said, according to the Press Association.
“He was riding perfectly safely that evening.
“He had his whole life in front of him and he was taken from us far too young.
“The pain of our loss eats away inside us. It is constant and unrelenting.”