Widow of slain police officer Andrew Harper believes he is 'smiling down at me with pride and love' after law passed

Widow of slain police officer Andrew Harper believes he is 'smiling down at me with pride and love' after law passed
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Anna Fox

By Anna Fox

Published: 28/06/2022

- 16:19

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:55

Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed in 2019 after pursuing three quad bike thieves

The widow of slain Police Officer Andrew Harper said she believes he is "smiling down at me with pride and love" after her campaign in his memory passed as law.

31-year-old Lissie Harper, was compelled to lobby the Government after being "outraged" by the prison sentences handed to the three teenagers responsible for killing her husband while he responded to a burglary, hours after he was due to clock off and begin his honeymoon.

Following the announcement that Harper's law came into effect today, Mrs Harper said: “I will never be rid of the hollowness that the burden of grief inflicts, but I know without hesitation that my husband Andrew would be immensely proud of this achievement in his name.

“Andrew believed in fairness and peace – he had the strongest moral compass of anyone I ever met and that is why I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is smiling down at me with pride and love as Harper’s Law, his legacy, is now achieved.”

28-year-old PC Harper died after sustaining serious injuries when he was caught in a strap attached to the back of a car and dragged down a winding country road as the trio fled the scene of a quad bike theft in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, on the night of August 15, 2019.

Family handout file photo of 28-year-old Pc Andrew Harper and his wife, Lissie. The widow of tragic police officer Andrew Harper, who was killed in the line of duty, has said she is ready to %22find happiness again%22 as her campaign for a change in the law reaches its conclusion. Issue date: Monday March 14, 2022.
PC Andrew Harper was killed in 2019
Family handout

Lissie Harper, the widow of PC Andrew Harper, during an interview at the National Police Memorial on The Mall, London. Picture date: Monday March 14, 2022.
Lissie Harper lobbied the Government after being 'outraged' by the prison sentences handed to the teenagers who killed her husband
Jonathan Brady

Henry Long, 19, was sentenced to 16 years and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers were handed 13 years in custody over the manslaughter of the Thames Valley Police traffic officer.

The leader of the group, Long, admitted manslaughter, while passengers Cole and Bowers were convicted of manslaughter after a trial at the Old Bailey.

The jury cleared all three of murder.

Mrs Harper’s determination to change the law came “in the midst of grief and incomprehensible loss”, and was backed by the likes of Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab.

The law will not be retrospective, meaning PC Harper’s killers cannot have their sentences extended.

Harper's Law extends mandatory life sentencing to anyone who commits the manslaughter of an emergency worker on duty, including police, prison officers, firefighters and paramedics.

Judges determine the minimum term someone handed a life sentence serves before they are deemed eligible for release.

But judges can deviate from this if they feel there are "truly exceptional circumstances".

Mrs Harper continued saying: “Almost three years ago my husband was robbed of his life and we were both robbed of our future together.

“Nothing will ever change that. This law will not change the outcome for his killers.

“But no longer will a family have to endure the pain of injustice in court as I did those many months ago – and that is a significantly powerful outcome.”

She added: “I know that many, many people will feel vindication at actually being able to believe in some legislation written in our history books.

“Throughout this journey I have met so many incredible people, fellow widows and widowers who know this unique pain I feel, as well as too many others who have lost loved ones in unspeakable ways and still have not seen any justice.

“I hope that this will help not only me but all of those who have experienced these cruel atrocities, we may never move on but we can try to move forward.”

PC Harper's wife said she will retire from public life once the law comes into effect, adding how she is ready to "find happiness again".

Harper’s Law is among the new measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, which also includes making rare whole-life orders the starting point for premeditated child murder.

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