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Pc Andrew Harper would be proud of law change campaign, his widow says
18 August 2020, 08:00
Pc Andrew Harper’s widow has said he would be "proud" of her campaign to jail those who kill police officers or other emergency workers for life.
Lissie Harper, 29, had been married to 28-year-old Pc Harper for just four weeks when he was dragged to his death behind a car of fleeing quad bike thieves in Berkshire.
She called for a retrial after his three teenage killers were all acquitted of murder at the Old Bailey, Henry Long, 19, was jailed for 16 years and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers each sentenced to 13 years for the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The Attorney General's office has been asked to consider if the sentences were too lenient and Mrs Harper is campaigning for a change to the law, which would see a mandatory life sentence for those found guilty of killing an emergency worker.
She said on Tuesday: "Our justice system is broken. And we need Harper's Law to help fix it.
"I have witnessed first-hand the lenient and insufficient way in which the justice system deals with criminals who take the lives of our emergency workers.
"Sadly nothing I do will bring Andrew back - but I know he would be proud of me for seeking to bring about a law change, which will hopefully act as a deterrent to anyone considering doing to one of his fellow emergency service workers the terrible thing that happened to him.
"Harper's Law will ensure those that commit these offences aren't out again on the streets in a matter of weeks while the families of the victims suffer their own life sentences. That would be far more just."
Her comments come after the first anniversary of Pc Harper's death on Saturday.
Mrs Harper is expected to meet with her local Tory MP John Howell on Tuesday and is waiting for a date for a meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Pc Harper’s mother Debbie Adlam also supported the campaign, saying that "something needs to change" after her son’s killers were sentenced.
She said: said: "We've come to realise that, with the outcome of the trial as it stands, something needs to change.
"He is worth much more than this and we've been thinking for some time that something needs to be brought in to protect our police officers.
"There's nobody looking out for them and we aim to change that."
Mrs Adlam added: "We're looking to bring in a minimum term - 20 years. No parole, no reductions."
Currently defendants under the age of 21 receive lower sentences, but Mrs Adlam believes this should end.
"As far as their age and the reductions go, my personal thoughts are there is no sense whatsoever in being 18 or 19 and getting time off your sentence.
"My gut turns when I think about that because you can change your gender, you can get a mortgage, you can serve in the Army, and the thing that really bugs me is you can be on a jury - yet you are not treated as an adult until you're 21 in the judicial system.
"That can't be right."
The campaign is backed by the Police Federation of England and Wales, whose chairman, John Apter, said: "The killing of a police officer should see those responsible face the rest of their lives in prison.
"This campaign would be Andrew's legacy and we will continue to support Lissie in her efforts to seek justice and change the law for the greater good."