PC Andrew Harper's widow criticises £465,000 spent on defending his killers

28 August 2020, 14:12

Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper, who is due to meet the Home Secretary next month in an effort to harness major political support
Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper, who is due to meet the Home Secretary next month in an effort to harness major political support. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

The widow of PC Andrew Harper has criticised the £465,000 in legal aid spent on defending his killers.

Lissie Harper, 29, said she was saddened but not surprised that "so much public money has been and continues to be spent on defending the indefensible", after the figure was reported by the Daily Mail.

In a statement, she said: "Andrew was my whole life.

"This just doesn't seem right or fair. Not only did we not get justice for Andrew, we now know the cost of that injustice.

"It's news such as this that makes me more determined than ever to keep on fighting for Harper's Law, which would mean these despicable criminals are jailed for life.

"Our petition calling for this now has more than 500,000 signatures. I am sure the public - whose support for me has been unstinting - will be as horrified as I am to know how much money is going towards paying this trio's escalating legal costs."

Mrs Harper is campaigning for Harper's Law, which would mean those who kill emergency workers are jailed for life.

ndated family handout file photo issued by Thames Valley Police of 28-year-old PC Andrew Harper
ndated family handout file photo issued by Thames Valley Police of 28-year-old PC Andrew Harper. Picture: PA

Mrs Harper and her 28-year-old husband had been married for just four weeks when he and a Thames Valley Police colleague responded to a late-night burglary in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, in August last year.

Two of Pc Harper's killers - 18-year-olds Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole - last week lodged applications with the Court of Appeal seeking permission to challenge their convictions and their 13-year prison sentences.

They were jailed alongside Henry Long, 19, who was handed a 16-year sentence.

All three were acquitted of murder during a trial at the Old Bailey but were sentenced for the lesser charge of manslaughter after Pc Harper got caught in a crane strap attached to the back of a car driven by Long, and was dragged to his death along dark country lanes.

The case began at the Old Bailey in March and was abandoned during the coronavirus pandemic, and a second trial began in June, which would have added to the legal aid costs.

Henry Long, one of the killers of Pc Andrew Harper, is applying for permission to appeal against his 16-year prison sentence.

The officer's mother, Debbie Adlam, said the news was "another kick in the stomach" for her family.

Long, 19, was acquitted of murder but admitted manslaughter after Pc Harper, a Thames Valley Police traffic officer, was caught in a crane strap attached to the back of a car driven by Long.

A judiciary spokesman confirmed Long's appeal, which comes days after his co-accused, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, lodged applications seeking permission to challenge their convictions and their 13-year prison sentences.

The prison sentences given to all three have already been referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General for judges to decide whether they were too lenient.

Mrs Adlam said: "My family and I totally respect anyone's right to appeal against their sentence. We live in a fair society.

"However, this news, coming as it does on the very last day that he had to put in his appeal, is simply another kick in the stomach that leaves us all feeling awful.

"We will recover from this as we have to do but my thoughts today are absolutely with my heroic son who gave his life trying to protect others and those responsible for his loss will not live rent free in my head."

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