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PC Andrew Harper killers to have sentences reviewed after ‘unduly lenient’ claim

Composite image PC Harper and killers
PC Harper, 28, was dragged to his death after his foot got caught in the tow rope of a stolen quad bike (Picture: PA)

The Attorney General has been asked to consider whether jail terms handed to the three teenagers who killed PC Andrew Harper were too lenient.

Henry Long, 19, the driver of the car that dragged Mr Harper to his death, was jailed for 16 years for manslaughter at the Old Bailey on Friday.

The two other occupants of the car, 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, were each jailed for 13 years.

Mr Harper’s widow Lissie said she was ‘immensely disappointed’ that the three teenagers were cleared of murder and convicted of manslaughter instead. The chairman of the Police Federation also hit out at the verdict, saying the teenagers should ‘face the rest of their lives in prison’.

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The Attorney General’s Office said it had been asked to review the sentences amid calls for a retrial.

File photo dated 24/7/2020 of Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper, who has called on the Government to intervene, as three teenage killers are to be sentenced for the death of her husband amid mounting anger that those responsible are not facing life in prison for murder. PA Photo. Issue date: Friday July 31, 2020. Henry Long, 19, and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers will be sentenced at the Old Bailey for manslaughter over the death last August. See PA story COURTS Berkshire. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Andrew Harper’s widow Lissie called the manslaughter verdict ‘appalling’ (Picture: PA)

On Tuesday a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said: ‘The Attorney General’s thoughts are with the family and friends of Pc Andrew Harper at this difficult time.

‘I can confirm that we have received a request for the cases of Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole to be considered under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

‘The Law Officers have 28 days from sentencing to consider the case.’

PC Harper, 28, died after he became entangled in a tow rope attached to a stolen quad bike on August 15 last year. He was dragged at high-speed for more than a mile down winding country lanes and suffered catastrophic injuries.

PC Harper's killers Henry Long, 19, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers,
(Left to right), Henry Long, 19, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, who were aquitted of murder but found guilty of manslaughter over the death of PC Harper (Picture: PA)

The teenagers admitted plotting the theft and Long pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but each denied knowing that PC Harper was there.

Lissie Harper, who had only been married to her late husband for four weeks, said the way he died was ‘barbaric’ and that the family ‘will never understand how such a beautiful, loving, decent human being could be dealt this fate’.

Last week she wrote an open letter to Boris Johnson asking for a retrial ‘to right such a despicable wrong for our country’.

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.

Ms Harper 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 defendants, who had been seen laughing throughout the trial, hugged each other after the verdicts were returned following more than 12 hours of deliberations.

Speaking outside the court on Friday after the sentencing Ms Harper said: ‘I honestly thought I would be addressing you after a very different verdict. I had planned to talk of the beautiful future Andrew and I had before us, I expected my words to be so very different and in all honesty I am for the second time in the space of one year utterly shocked and appalled.

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‘No verdict or sentence will ever bring my incredible, selfless and heroic husband back.

‘The results from this trial I had hoped would bring justice but in reality make no difference to the heart-wrenching pain I will continue to feel for the rest of my life.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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