PC Harper's widow 'utterly shocked' and 'immensely disappointed' at verdict

Emily Mee, news reporter
·2-min read

The widow of PC Andrew Harper has said she feels "immensely disappointed" after three teenagers were found guilty of manslaughter for killing her husband.

Lissie Harper, who had only been married for a month when he died, said she felt "utterly shocked and appalled" after the verdicts at the Old Bailey.

She told media outside the court: "Standing here before all of you, I honestly thought I would be addressing you after a very different verdict."

PC Harper was dragged to his death behind a car while attempting to stop the teenagers stealing a quad bike in west Berkshire.

The car's driver, Henry Long, 19, and his passengers, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18, had denied murder.

All three were convicted of manslaughter after denying they knew the police officer had become entangled in a rope attached to their car.

Mrs Harper described her husband's killing as "brutal and senseless", adding that "for many, many agonising months we have hoped that justice would come in some way for Andrew".

She continued: "Andrew was taken from us on that horrendous night last year and his life was stolen and the lives of his family and friends altered forever.

"The way in which Andrew was robbed of his life we all know to be barbaric and inexplicable. I am immensely disappointed with the verdict given today."

Mrs Harper paid tribute to her "incredible, selfless and heroic" husband and said he had "laid down his life for us all".

"I now have my own life sentence to bear and believe me when I say it will be a lot more painful, soul-destroying and painful journey than anyone facing a meagre number of years in prison will experience," she said.

Thames Valley Police Detective Superintendent Stuart Blaik, who also addressed media outside court, said the night of PC Harper's death was "a night we will never forget".

"Andrew lost his life doing what police officers do every day - putting themselves in harm's way," he said.

PC Harper had already finished a long shift when he and his colleague responded to a report of a stolen quad bike on 15 August last year, the court heard.

While chasing the thieves, he became entangled in a rope attached to their Seat.

As the teenagers' car sped off, the officer was dragged behind at speeds of 42.5mph and suffered horrific injuries.

He died at the scene.

Mr Blaik claimed the teenagers had "shown no remorse for what happened that evening".

They are due to be sentenced next Friday.