Pc Andrew Harper funeral: Hundreds line street to pay tribute to ‘hero’ police officer

Harriet Brewis
People line the High Street in Oxford to pay their respects as the funeral cortege for Pc Andrew Harper: PA

Hundreds of mourners lined the streets of Oxford this morning to pay their respects to police officer Andrew Harper who was killed while on duty.

The 28-year-old newlywed, from Thames Valley Police, died from multiple injuries when he was dragged under a van in west Berkshire while responding to a burglary call on August 15.

Around 800 people, including uniformed police officers, braved the rain to watch on as the cortege moved through the city.

Following a 15-minute procession, the coffin - draped with a navy flag with a Thames Valley Police crest on the side - arrived at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, for his funeral.

As the service began, the casket was carried by six uniformed officers to the centre of the cathedral.

Pc Harper's widow Lissie then poignantly laid her late husband's police hat on top.

Thames Valley Police lead chaplain Reverend Helen Arnold opened the service, which was broadcast to a second overspill church.

It was attended by officers from the force and neighbouring units, as well as members of other emergency services.

Mrs Harper paid an emotional tribute to her late husband, followed by songs from Shirley Bassey and Russell Watson and performances from the cathedral's choir.

Members of Pc Harper's family laid out items that reminded them of him, including a Mr Men mug, a box of eggs and a jar of Nutella.

The Dean of Christ Church cathedral, the Very Reverend Professor Martyn Percy, commemorated a "kind, brave, strong and loyal man".

He said: "Some might say he was an ordinary man with an ordinary job. I do not agree.

"He represented policing at its best. He was everything you wanted in a police officer. Authentic, brave, genuine, and kind."

While the service itself was for friends and family only, Thames Valley Police said members of the public were welcome to pay their respects along the processional route.

Pc Harper had married Lissie just four weeks before his death, and she described him as the "kindest, loveliest, most selfless person you will ever meet".

Thames Valley Police Federation chairman Craig O'Leary described Pc Harper as a "hero" and said he "loved being a police officer".

"It is our sad duty today to pay our last respects to him and support his wife Lissie, his family and his friends at his funeral," he added.

The Thames Valley police officer with his wife Lissie at the couple's wedding just four before his death (Mark Lord via AP)

The force is flying its flags at half-mast as a mark of respect to their “fallen colleague and friend”.

"Today is going to be a tough day for all our officers, staff and volunteers as we pay tribute to our fallen colleague," Thames Valley Police added in a statement on Twitter.

Several of Oxford's most historic streets were closed to traffic this morning for the funeral service.