PC Andrew Harper's widow asks PM for murder retrial

PC Harper married his childhood sweetheart Lissie four weeks before his death

PC Andrew Harper's widow has written to the prime minister to ask for a retrial after her husband's killers were acquitted of murder.

Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole were convicted of manslaughter after the officer was dragged along a road in Berkshire by a car.

The three teenagers were cleared of murder after an Old Bailey trial.

In an open letter on Facebook, Lissie Harper called for "the retrial that [PC Harper] unquestionably deserves".

Mrs Harper wrote to Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Lord Blunkett, a former Labour home secretary, urging them and others "to right such a despicable wrong for our country".

She vowed to "keep fighting on behalf of Andrew, the future that was stolen from us and also the victims who find themselves in this unjustly situation in the future".

Media captionOutside the Old Bailey Lissie Harper said the "senseless killing" had left her in "heart-wrenching pain"

Outside court last week, Mrs Harper said she was "immensely disappointed" by the manslaughter verdicts and had been left "utterly shocked and appalled".

PC Harper, 28, was dragged for more than a mile along country lanes after he and a colleague responded to reports of a quad bike theft on 15 August last year.

The newlywed officer became "lassoed" to the back of a Seat Toledo after he "unwittingly" stepped with both feet into the loop of a tow rope as he tried to apprehend one of the defendants, jurors heard.

Andrew HarperImage copyrightFAMILYHANDOUT
Image captionPC Harper was killed while responding to a report of a quad bike being stolen

Prosecutors said he was "swung from side to side like a pendulum" after Long sped off to escape the scene.

The court heard the Seat travelled for more than a mile towards the A4 before PC Harper became detached and died in the road.

During the trial, the prosecution said it had sought murder charges after alleging the defendants were aware the officer was being dragged behind the car.

But their defence claimed the incident was a "freak event" that no-one could have planned or foreseen.

PC Harper, from Wallingford, Oxfordshire, had been married for just four weeks to his childhood sweetheart before his death.

Within weeks, they had been due to go to the Maldives for their honeymoon.

Jessie Cole, Henry Long and Albert BowersImage copyrightTHAMES VALLEY POLICE
Image captionJessie Cole, Henry Long and Albert Bowers (L-R) are due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday

In her letter, Mrs Harper wrote: "I implore you to hear my words... and I ask with no expectations other than hope that you might help me to make these changes be considered, to ensure that Andrew is given the retrial that he unquestionably deserves and to see that the justice system in our country is the solid ethical foundation that it rightly should be.

"Not the joke that so many of us now view it to be."

Long, 19, of College Piece, Mortimer, Reading, pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murder along with Bowers and Cole.

Cole, 18, of Paices Hill near Reading, Bowers, also 18, of Moat Close, Bramley, and Long all admitted conspiracy to steal a quad bike.

The defendants are due to be sentenced on Friday.


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