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Pc Harper: Attorney General asked to review if killers' sentences are 'too lenient'
4 August 2020, 16:04
The Attorney General has been asked to review whether PC Andrew Harper’s killers' sentences are too lenient.
Henry Long, 19, was handed a 16-year jail term at the Old Bailey on Friday, while 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers were sentenced to 13 years following their conviction for manslaughter.
The slain 28-year-old newlywed, a traffic officer for Thames Valley Police, died when he was caught in a crane strap and dragged along Berkshire country lanes after confronting the trio for stealing a quadbike.
Long drove the Seat Toledo that dragged Pc Harper for a mile in Stanford Dingley, causing catastrophic injuries.
On Tuesday the Attorney General's office confirmed it had been asked to consider if the jail terms are "unduly lenient".
A spokesman 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's widow Lissie had called for a retrial after her husband's killers were cleared of murder and instead found guilty of manslaughter.
The Attorney General has no power to order a retrial, and prosecutors would either need new and compelling evidence to apply for the acquittals to be quashed, or there would need to be proven interference with the jury.
Measures were put in place to protect the jury in the Pc Harper case, and one female juror was discharged after she was seen by a prison officer to mouth "Bye boys" to the teenagers in the dock.
But trial judge Mr Justice Edis said there was no evidence that the jury had been pressured.
He told the Old Bailey: "It may be believed in some quarters that the jury was subject to some improper pressure.
"To the best of my knowledge and belief there is no truth in that at all."