PC Andrew Harper widow's anger at laughing killers who 'acted like football fans' during harrowing court case

THE widow of PC Andrew Harper has spoken about her anger at seeing her husband's killers laughing and "acting like football fans" during their trial.

Lissie Harper, 29, had been married to Andrew just four weeks when he was killed while responding to a report of a burglary in Sulhamstead, Berkshire in August 2019.

Harper, 28, was dragged along a road for more than a mile after his leg got caught in a tow rope attached to a getaway car.

Three teens – Henry Long, 19, Jessie Cole, 18, and Albert Bowers, 18 – were charged with murder following his death.

The group claimed not to have known Harper had been ensnared by the rope, although witnesses recounted seeing the car swerve from side to side as if trying to shake him loose.

All three were ultimately acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter.

Pictures from the trial showed the group joking between themselves and smiling at the press as they entered court.

Describing how the three behaved once they were in the dock, Lissie told the Daily Mail: "They looked like they were sitting in the headteacher's office.

"They were waving up to the public gallery at their families as if it was all just a day out. They were laughing and joking."

She said that, once the judge walked into the room, the "atmosphere changed".

"They straightened up and wiped the smirks off of their faces," she said.

"Then, when the jury came in, they behaved like model pupils, shirts tucked in and heads down. 

"Whenever they left the court room we could all hear them shouting, like football fans on the terraces.

"They looked over at us a lot, but not with any kind of sorrow I could see. I sensed they were trying to get a reaction from us. Like this was just a game.

"I'd expected my tears to come in buckets yet, when my eyes met theirs, my only thought was: How could these hollow people have taken such a beautiful life away?"

At the close of the trial, Long, who was driving the car by which PC Harper was dragged, was sentenced to 16 years in jail.

Cole and Bowers, who were both minors at the time, were each given 13 years, to be spent in part at a young offenders' institution.

Lissie has now launched a campaign for a so-called Harper's Law, which would mandate a life sentence for anyone convicted of killing an emergency worker in the line of duty.

The campaign has won the backing of the Police Federation.

Lissie has also said that the acquittal of her husband's killers on the murder charges was a "miscarriage of justice" and called for a retrial.

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