PC Andrew Harper's Killers Are Sentenced
PC Andrew Harper's killers were today sentenced over his death last August.
The three teenage killers - Henry Long, 19, and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers - were sentenced for manslaughter at the Old Bailey. They will not be eligible for release until they have served at least two thirds of their sentences.
Henry Long received a sentence of 16 years imprisonment, with three years on extended licence. Meanwhile,
Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole each received 13 years imprisonment. Thomas King - who was charged with conspiring to steal a quad bike - was sentenced to two years imprisonment.
Henry Long received 25-per-cent off on account of his guilty plea.
Judge Justice Edis said nothing he did would "restore Andrew Harper to his loving wife or family" and that "his devastating loss in terrible circumstances will follow his family for ever", the BBC reported.
Justice Edis went on to say that the defendants had killed "a talented and brave young police officer".
The charge of manslaughter comes after the three were cleared of murder - a verdict which caused distress to the 28-year-old victim's widow, Lissie Harper, and prompted pats on the back between the trio.
Live tweeting from the trial for the BBC, Helena Wilkinson wrote that Judge Mr Justice Edis said "one juror was discharged during this trial because she had behaved in an inappropriate way which gave an appearance of favouring the defendants."
Ms Wilkinson also reported how Mrs Harper described her pain, torture and hopelessness, saying she was a "shadow of the person I once was. Broken. Distraught" and that "whatever is decided will not bring Andrew back".
Mrs Harper - who had been with her husband for 13 years and married him just one month before his tragic death - said that the decision not to convict the teenagers of murder had left her "utterly shocked and appalled".
She continued: "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."
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Following the manslaughter verdict, Mrs Harper urged the UK Government to intervene.
Posting an open letter to her Facebook page on Tuesday evening, Mrs Harper called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel and former Labour Home Secretary Lord (David) Blunkett to rectify "a despicable wrong for our country".
The letter reads: "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 sentencing comes a year after PC Harper was received a report of a stolen £10,000 quad bike from a property in Stanford Dingley, Berkshire, on the night of 15th August 2019.
When PC Harper tracked down the thieves, he found them towing the Honda quadbike down Admoor Lane.
The policeman got out of his car to chase Cole, who had disconnected the rope between the Seat Toledo vehicle and the stolen Honda.
Cole then jumped into the Seat - beyond PC Harper's reach - and drove at speeds of 42.5mph, dragging the terrified policeman along with him.
His clothes were stripped from his body and he was discovered fighting for his life in Ufton Lane near the A4 - attempts were made to revive him, but he died at the scene.
The trio were later arrested, and mobile phone data placed all three at the scene of the crime, though Long attempted to create an alibi, saying he was watching the movie Fast And Furious that night.
PC Harper's teenage killers claimed the crime was a "freak event", but the prosecution argued that they must have been aware that they were dragging the stricken policeman to his death, given that he was 6ft and weighed 14 stone.
Featured Image Credit: PA