Harry Dunn: British police to interview suspect Anne Sacoolas under caution in US

22 October 2019, 10:47 | Updated: 22 October 2019, 20:05

British police officers investigating the death of Harry Dunn will interview the suspect under caution in the US.

Anne Sacoolas left the UK and claimed diplomatic immunity after being involved a car crash that killed the 19-year-old outside an US spy base in Northampton on 27 August.

She has now requested that she be interviewed under caution by Northamptonshire Police officers in her home country, and they will travel there shortly.

Chief Constable Nick Adderley said: "The suspect has cooperated fully with police and authorities and requested to be interviewed under caution in the US.

"She did not want to provide a pre-prepared statement, as is her right."

Being interviewed under caution means Mrs Sacoolas will have the right not to answer questions if she does not want to - but anything she does say can be used in a legal case.

During what he admitted was a "fairly unprecedented" press conference for this stage of an investigation, Mr Adderley said officers had worked "tirelessly" on the case since the accident.

He said that Mrs Sacoolas not being in the country "frustrates the investigation, but does not stop it", and that police had now passed the case on to the Crown Prosecution Service.

He added: "The suspect cooperated with police at the scene and spoke with authorities there. Officers attended the home address of the suspect next day (28 August), and again she fully cooperated."

Mrs Sacoolas, 43, has offered an apology over the fatal crash outside RAF Croughton, but has been told by Harry's mother Charlotte Charles that "sorry doesn't cut it".

Mr Adderley said Mrs Charles and Harry's father Tim Dunn had acted with "dignity and grace" since the accident, but warned family spokesman Radd Seiger to "exercise restraint in his commentary".

He said he understood the "emotion and anxiety" caused by the case, but added: "I urge him to exercise restraint in his commentary as it is not helpful."

Mr Seiger told Sky News he understood why Mr Adderley "feels that what I've been doing isn't helping for him".

But he added that Harry's family "genuinely feel" the police have "not put their best foot forward, and I think that's to put it mildly".

Mr Seiger continued: "The questions that we're asking are very simple, basic questions. As you can imagine, we're being very carefully advised by very senior lawyers in this country.

"We would do nothing to jeopardise Mrs Sakoolas's right to a fair trial - she is innocent until proven guilty."

Mr Seiger has regularly spoken of the family's disappointment with how the case has been handled by the UK and US governments and was critical of a statement given by Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb on Monday.

Mr Raab revealed that the US had warned Britain they would remove Mrs Sacoolas from the UK, and that police could do nothing to stop her from leaving.

He said the government position was that Mrs Sacoolas' immunity ended when she left the UK.

Mr Seiger said of the statement: "We are not able to believe everything he says and take it at face value."

Mr Adderley said police were supportive of the decision to delay telling the family that Mrs Sacoolas had left the UK, which had been criticised by Mr Seiger.

The force was informed on 16 September that a waiver to counter the diplomatic immunity claim had been rejected, meaning police could not involve Mrs Sacoolas in the investigation any further.

Mr Adderley said he supported the decision not to tell the family for a few days due to the timing of Harry's funeral, which came two days later.

He added that Mrs Sacoolas and her family were said to be "utterly devastated" by the accident, which happened when her car collided with Harry's motorbike.

Last week, Mrs Charles and Mr Dunn travelled to the US in an attempt to pressure authorities to return Mrs Sacoolas.

The visit included talks at the White House with President Donald Trump, during which the family was told that Mr Dunn's alleged killer was in a nearby room and prepared to meet them.

They refused, insisting such an encounter take place in Britain.