Widow of PC Andrew Harper asks Boris Johnson for retrial after teenage killers cleared of murder

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Lissie Harper was married to Pc Andrew Harper for a month before he was killed. (PA)
Lissie Harper was married to PC Andrew Harper for a month before he was killed. (PA)

The widow of PC Andrew Harper has written to Boris Johnson to ask for a retrial after her husband's teenage killers were cleared of murder.

Lissie Harper had been married to PC Harper for just a month when he was killed by Henry Long, 19, and Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, as they tried to steal a quad bike.

PC Harper, 28, was dragged for more than a mile along the country lanes of Berkshire when he became entangled in a tow rope attached to the teenagers' getaway car.

Cole and Bowers were convicted of manslaughter by an Old Bailey jury on Friday, but all three defendants were acquitted of murder. Long had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

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Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper, speaks to the media outside the Old Bailey in London, after driver Henry Long, 19, who dragged Pc Andrew Harper to his death, was found not guilty of murder but had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter and his passengers Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Lissie Harper, the widow of PC Andrew Harper, has asked Boris Johnson for a retrial of the teenagers who killed her husband. (Getty)

In an open letter posted on her Facebook page on Tuesday evening, Mrs Harper wrote to the prime minister, home secretary Priti Patel and Lord Blunkett urging them and others "to right such a despicable wrong for our country”.

She wrote: "I implore you to hear my words, see the facts that are laid out before us, 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.”

The Prime Minister said he will comment on Mrs Harper’s plea once legal proceedings are over.

The letter comes after an online petition to overturn the verdicts received over 200,000 signatures.

Previously unissued photo dated 19/09/19 of Albert Bowers (left) and Jessie Cole (centre) leaving Reading Magistrates Court following an appearance in relation to the death of PC Andrew Harper. Driver Henry Long, 19, has been found not guilty at the Old Bailey of murder, but had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter. His passengers Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter for the death of Pc Andrew Harper, who had been attempting to apprehend quad bike thieves when he was killed on the night of August 15, 2019.
Albert Bowers (left) and Jessie Cole (centre) leaving Reading Magistrates Court following an appearance in relation to the death of PC Andrew Harper. (PA)
Pc Andrew Harper was dragged for more than a mile along the country lanes of Berkshire when he became entangled in a tow rope attached to the teenagers' getaway car. (PA)
PC Andrew Harper was dragged for more than a mile along the country lanes of Berkshire when he became entangled in a tow rope attached to the teenagers' getaway car. (PA)

The original trial was abandoned the day the country went into lockdown in March, while for the retrial Mr Justice Edis ordered extra security measures amid fears of potential juror intimidation by supporters of the defendants.

A female juror was discharged just a day before the remaining 11 started deliberating on their verdicts after she was seen by a prison officer to mouth "Bye boys" to the teenagers in the dock.

The defendants, who had previously been seen laughing, hugged each other after the verdicts were returned following more than 12 hours of deliberations.

Speaking outside court, Mrs Harper thanked the police and prosecution who had "stood in our corner and fought to make sure these men were made to repent for their barbaric crimes”.

But she criticised the verdicts in the open letter on Facebook.

Henry Long (left) Jessie Cole (middle) and Albert Bowers (right) were cleared of murdering Pc Andrew Harper. (PA)
Henry Long (left) Jessie Cole (centre) and Albert Bowers (right) were cleared of murdering PC Andrew Harper. (PA)

She wrote: "I will 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.

"After all, who are we if we allow our legal system to fail us?

"What is this country if it does not provide justice for the innocent?

Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper, outside the Old Bailey in London, after driver Henry Long, 19, who dragged Pc Andrew Harper to his death, was found not guilty of murder but had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter and his passengers Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Lissie Harper outside the Old Bailey in London after driver Henry Long was found not guilty of murder. (Getty)

"What does it say to the public and the police officers, old and new if every day they go out and put themselves at risk to detain these criminals just to witness them be treated so exceptionally lightly in the eyes of the law?

"It says that we are weak, that we will roll over to the despicable thieves and vile miscreants of this world and literally let them get away with murder.”

Long, Cole and Bowers face sentencing on Friday.