Harry Dunn's family: Fatal crashes involving Americans outside bases 'date back to 1950s'

Northamptonshire campaigners also call on government to refuse future US extraditions, starting with Julian Assange

By Jack Duggan
Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 2:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 3:01 pm

Fatal crashes involving Americans outside British air bases used by the United States, like the Northamptonshire tragedy that killed Harry Dunn, date back to the 1950s.

With the six-month anniversary of the crash outside RAF Croughton on Thursday (February 27), Harry’s family has also urged the government to deny all US extradition applications until Anne Sacoolas returns to face a trial.

The 19-year-old’s family has accused successive governments of ‘turning a blind eye to the carnage’ caused by US service personnel after finding a newspaper report from 1955 about incidents in Cambridgeshire.

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Harry Dunn

Harry’s step-father, Bruce Charles, said: “My family and I strongly believe that the UK Government are deliberately turning a blind eye to this carnage outside the bases in deference to whatever the US Government and its personnel does on these bases.

“We are being killed and injured. Our children are being killed and injured. Yet, this government doesn’t appear to care like they didn’t care about us after Harry died. They should hang their heads in shame.

“Frankly, it’s disgusting and we will do whatever it takes to help save lives and prevent injury even if they won’t. I don’t know what they do on these bases but whatever it is they need to do it and be better and safer neighbours.”

Harry, 19, died in hospital after his motorcycle was involved in a collision near Croughton with a Volvo being driven by Anne Sacoolas, an American whose husband worked at RAF Croughton as an intelligence officer, on the wrong side of the road on August 27.

Since the Justice4Harry campaign started last October, family spokesman Radd Seiger said they have been approached by ‘dozens and dozens of people who have either lost loved ones at the hands of American drivers outside these bases or suffered life-changing injuries or near misses’.

The Cambridge Daily News reported fatalities outside RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall in February 1955 and only last month another near-miss outside the Northamptonshire base was filmed.

“Countless lives and limbs have been lost over the years at the hands of American service personnel driving off base, with the culprits effectively getting on the next plane home,” Mr Seiger said.

“Yet, no government over the years appears to have taken the slightest bit of notice let alone any action to remediate the problem and this government is doing no better notwithstanding the bright spotlight we have shone on the issue.

“Despite our repeated calls for someone in authority to take this matter seriously, they are guilty of the most serious abdication of their first responsibility.”

Harry's family wants the UK government to undertake a review of the arrangements at US-used British bases and a review of its own handling of the Sacoolas case.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the family he is 'reviewing all options' around the bases but Whitehall has rejected calls for a public inquiry.

Sacoolas initially co-operated with police but then told officers she had diplomatic immunity before flying back to the States a few weeks later, refusing to come back.

The US State Department rejected an extradition request from the Home Office after being charged with causing death by dangerous driving, claiming she still has diplomatic immunity.

Mr Seiger wants the British government to stand up to the US’ ‘extraordinary amount of hypocrisy’ by rejecting the extradition of Julian Assange, the Wikileads co-founder whose hearing began on Monday, and all other American requests.

“It is high time that the UK Government comes out and shows us what they are made of if they are to instil any confidence that they really do have our backs, Harry’s family having been so badly let down following his death last August,” he said.