British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said US President Joe Biden had expressed “great sympathy” for the case of Harry Dunn, a British teenager who died after being hit by a car driven by the wife of an American diplomat.
Anne Sacoolas, the driver, claimed diplomatic immunity and left the UK after the crash outside RAF Croughton, a US Air Force-controlled military base in central England.
Britain’s attempt to extradite Sacoolas to face charges of death by dangerous driving was rejected by US authorities, and the incident sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries.
In a statement to CNN, a Downing Street spokesperson said the ‘tragic’ issue had been raised with Biden and said Johnson ‘reiterated’ that the UK ‘wanted justice for the family’ .
“He has his own personal reasons for feeling very deeply comfortable with the issue,” Johnson told the BBC. Biden’s first wife and a toddler girl were killed in a car crash in 1972.
“He was extremely sympathetic, but it’s not something that either government can control very easily as legal proceedings are still ongoing,” Johnson added.
Last year, the UK and US agreed to revise an “anomaly” that allowed Sacoolas, the wife of a former US diplomat, to leave Britain. Under the revised agreement, family members of staff based at RAF Croughton will no longer enjoy immunity from criminal jurisdiction and will be subject to criminal prosecution where appropriate.
In a statement, Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles said Thursday they were “incredibly grateful” that the matter was taken “so seriously that it was raised on the eve of the G7 meeting”.
“We very much hope that President Biden takes a different perspective than the previous administration given his deeply personal connection to the case which suffered losses under similar circumstances,” the family’s lawyer said, Radd Seiger.
The White House declined to comment on the conversation, but a National Security Council spokesperson told CNN: “We once again offer our sincere condolences and sympathy to the Dunn family for the loss of their son. It was a tragic accident. The United States has remained closely linked to the British government and we have been transparent about our positions on legal and diplomatic issues relating to this accident. “
A little more context: Former President Trump has tried to intervene in Dunn’s case before, even meeting his parents at the White House in October 2019. Dunn’s parents were caught off guard when Trump told them Anne Sacoolas was in the room. room next to it. Dunn’s parents rejected Trump’s offer to meet with her.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Zahid Mahmood contributed to this post.