United Kingdom

Police chief referred to watchdog over internal emails about Harry Dunn's family spokesman

The chief constable of Northamptonshire Police has been referred to the police watchdog after internal emails showed he described the spokesman for Harry Dunn's family as an 'issue'. 

Nick Adderley faced calls from the Dunn family to resign in October 2019 after a 'disgraceful' tweet in which he commented on their legal battles with 'how sad but how predictable'.

Mr Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019.

The suspect, 43-year-old Anne Sacoolas, had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf by the US government following the crash and she was able to return to her home country.

Nick Adderley, chief constable of Northamptonshire Police, has been referred to the police watchdog after internal emails showed he described the spokesman for Harry Dunn's family as an 'issue'

Mr Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019

The suspect, 43-year-old Anne Sacoolas, had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf by the US government following the crash and she was able to return to her home country

How was Anne Sacoolas able to flee back to the US as British police investigated? 

US diplomat's wife Anne Sacoolas fled the UK after allegedly killing 19-year-old Harry Dunn in August by running him over in her car 

Anne Sacoolas used a loophole to claim diplomatic immunity after allegedly killing Harry Dunn in a crash involving her Volvo SUV.

It was believed that diplomatic immunity only applied to US officials - and their families - if they worked at the US Embassy in London.

But it appears that because of the work done at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire – a US intelligence hub in Britain - the same applies there. 

Sky News claims an immunity deal between the UK and US there started in  1994.

As a result Northamptonshire Police were planning to get Anne Sacoolas to sign a 'waiver of diplomatic immunity' - but she, her husband and their children fled on a private jet.

Harry's family claim that Mrs Sacoolas had promised to work with police and admitted culpability. 

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) charged her with causing Mr Dunn's death by dangerous driving in December 2019 but an extradition request submitted by the Home Office was rejected by the US State Department a month later.

Emails obtained through a subject access request have shown how Mr Adderley warned the Home Office 'that the issue is with the family's spokesperson [Radd Seiger], who would disclose any engagement to the media and may not do so accurately'.

The Northamptonshire force had also made its views clear to the Foreign Office on the Interpol notice issued for the suspect - which emails have suggested was a diffusion notice and not a red notice.

Police had contacted the family to say Sacoolas was 'wanted internationally' in May last year.

Emails showed that the police 'regretted the email that had gone out to Harry Dunn's family's spokesperson' - adding 'Northants Police maintain that it was not their intention to provide the information to the family'.

Internal Home Office communications from May 13 also revealed how they suggested the force 'be more open' with the Dunn family about the Interpol notice 'as we don't want them to feel abandoned'.

But Mr Adderley rejected the suggestion, saying: 'Following our telephone conversation this morning and taking into consideration the Judicial Review we are party to, I have taken the decision not to write to the family, or the family spokesperson.'

The Dunn family submitted a complaint to Northamptonshire police, fire and crime commissioner Stephen Mold on Sunday.

The emails follow 'unprofessional and unacceptable' communications from Foreign Office officials who described Mr Dunn's mother as 'excessive' and Mr Seiger as 'evil'.

Emails obtained through a subject access request have shown how Mr Adderley warned the Home Office 'that the issue is with the family's spokesperson [Radd Seiger], who would disclose any engagement to the media and may not do so accurately'

Speaking after the complaint was submitted, Mr Seiger said: 'The way Harry's family have been treated by public bodies has been nothing short of appalling.

'We hope that the IOPC will investigate this matter thoroughly and, moving forwards, we hope all parties will join me in helping this family to get justice for their son.

'That should be their sole concern, as it has been mine from the outset.'

A spokesman for the office of the Northamptonshire police, fire and crime commissioner said: 'We can confirm that we have received and recorded a complaint against the Chief Constable from a member of the public and in line with the statutory guidance on such complaints, we have referred it to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.'

WHY ARE AMERICANS AT RAF CROUGHTON IN THE UK?

RAF Croughton is an air base that is currently being leased by the US government. 

It houses the 422nd Air Base Group, but is also being used by spies working for the Joint Intelligence Operations Center Europe (JIOCEUR). 

JIOCEUR is a military intelligence analysis center which is part of the Defense Intelligence Agency. The agency is an external branch of government which provides intelligence to 'warfighters, defense policymakers and force planners in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community'. 

The entrance to RAF Croughton is shown. Sacoolas was exiting the base when she turned onto the wrong side of the road on August 27

It provides intelligence information for the U.S. European and African commands as well as NATO.  

The Center is based at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire but, following the 2015 announcement that it was to close in 2023, many of the positions were moved to Croughton. 

There are plans to consolidate it with the U.S. Africa Command to make a larger station at Croughton that will be known as the Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex - a major hub for US intelligence gathering.

According to locals in Croughton, the communications center - where Sacoolas' husband is said to work - is a 'site within the site' which has its own separate security.  

The US government is reconsidering the relocation after being met with resistance from lawmakers who said it would be too expensive.  

A file photo of a geodesic dome covering radar scanners and satellite dishes at the base. It is an intelligence gathering hub which the US Defense Intelligence Agency uses to collect information from Europe and Africa 

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