PC Andrew Harper’s teenage killers jailed as judge says they showed no remorse

Three teenagers who killed PC Andrew Harper have been jailed as a judge said they had shown “no remorse”.

Henry Long, 19, and Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, all denied knowing the 28-year-old officer was attached to their car during a high-speed getaway in Berkshire.

Long admitted the lesser offence of manslaughter while his friends were convicted of the same charge after a retrial.

Long was jailed for 16 years on Friday, while Cole and Bowers were given 13 years each.

Sentencing the trio at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Edis acknowledged “controversy” over their acquittal for murder after PC Harper’s widow wrote to the prime minister demanding a retrial.

“Nothing which I can do, or could have done, if there had been a conviction for murder, can restore Andrew Harper to his loving wife and family, or to the public he served so well,” the judge said.

“His devastating loss in these terrible circumstances will follow his family forever.”

He said there was no evidence that jurors had been intimidated or that “inappropriate” behaviour by a female juror who was discharged for apparently favouring the defendants had an impact on their verdicts.

Justice Edis said the case was “close to case of murder in its seriousness” and described the killers as ”young, unintelligent but professional criminals”.

The judge called Long “dangerous” and told the teenager: “I do not believe that if you had known he was caught up you would have stopped, but I do accept that you did not know this until the point at which he became detached from the car.”

Detective Supterintendent Stuart Blaik, the senior investigating officer, said he did not believe the defendants’ expressions of remorse during the trial were genuine.

When Long gave evidence he said he was sorry and remorseful, and had lost sleep over it – I don’t believe that,”

At no point throughout this investigation have I seen any remorse from these three defendants and footage from a remand hearing in September showed them laughing.”

Det Supt Blaik added: “At no point have they ever tried to help or assist the investigation at all.”

The officer said that PC Harper’s fellow officers had “seen and had to do things that no police officer should” on the night of his death.

“As a police family we still mourn the loss of Andrew and that’s going to go on forever,” he added.

“I’m not sure that the trial process and the verdict and the sentencing will ever bring closure.”

Speaking at Friday’s sentencing, Long’s defence lawyer claimed he felt genuine remorse and had ”accepted responsibility“ for his role in the officer’s death.

But Justice Edis told the defendants: “I reject the contention that any of you has shown anything resembling remorse.”

PC Harper’s wife told the Old Bailey she was lost in an “endless world of numb despair”.

Lissie Harper said her husband was “brutally killed four weeks after our wedding day” and that their plans to start a family had been “stolen”.

She added: “Not only did these men take my true, beautiful love away from me … they took our future too.

“They took more than one life away that day, they stole the person that I used to be, the happiness that we shared and the beautiful plans we had made together.”

Prosecutor Jonathan Polnay also read a victim impact statement from PC Harper’s mother, Deborah Adlam.

”I have sat in the mortuary of my son’s covered body, too damaged for me to see,” she said.

“He will never get to be called ‘daddy’ or hold his own child – we imagined this was not too far away in the future.”

PC Harper’s sister, Aimee Harper, said the manner of his death had “haunted her dreams” and that hearing the events recounted in court had been “hell”.

PC Harper was four hours past the end of his shift when he and a colleague responded to a call about a quad bike being stolen on 15 August last year.

They encountered Long and his accomplices driving towards them on a narrow country road.

The police car blocked their getaway and PC Harper jumped out to chase one of the thieves.

But as he approached the back of the Seat, his foot was caught in a strap used to tow the quad bike and he was dragged away after Long mounted the verge to escape.

The Old Bailey heard that Long drove at an average of 42.5mph for more than a mile on winding country lanes before PC Harper was dislodged.

He was found by his colleagues with catastrophic injuries and died at the scene.

When he was arrested at a nearby travellers’ site, Long initially lied to the police and claimed he had been watching the film Fast and Furious at the time of the theft.

On being charged, he said: ”I don’t give a f*** about any of this”.

Their defence claimed the incident was a “freak event” that none of them could have planned or foreseen.

But the prosecution said at more than 6ft and weighing 14 stone, the defendants must have been aware PC Harper was being dragged to his death.

The trio’s first trial collapsed in March after three jurors went into self-isolation because of coronavirus symptoms and could no longer attend court.

Thomas King, who admitted conspiracy to steal over the first attempt to take the quad bike earlier in the day but was not involved in PC Harper’s death, was jailed for two years.

Author: Kelly ositah

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