Attorney General asked to reconsider jail terms given to PC Andrew Harper’s killers


The Attorney General has been asked to consider whether jail terms given to the three teenagers who killed PC Andrew Harper are unduly lenient.

Henry Long, 19, the driver of the car that dragged the 28-year-old officer to his death, was jailed for 16 years for manslaughter at the Old Bailey on Friday.

The other two occupants of the car, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were each jailed for 13 years.

Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole had stolen a quad bike
Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole had stolen a quad bike

On Tuesday, the Attorney General’s Office confirmed they have been asked to consider if the jail terms handed to the teenagers are too lenient.

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office 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.”

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There were tears and gasps from some people in the public gallery on Friday when the teenagers were handed their sentences.

Reacting to their punishments, Long looked up briefly to glance at members of his family, while Cole kept his head bowed and Bowers appeared shocked.

Lissie Harper

Lissie Harper: ‘I have my own life sentence’

PC Harper was dragged for a mile behind their car, after he tried to stop the group towing away a quad bike, stolen from outside a house in Berkshire in August last year.

The judge, Mr Justice Edis, said his role was to impose a sentence against the teenagers responsible for PC Harper’s death which reflected “the seriousness of this case and protects the public”.

Passing sentence, the judge said getaway driver Long was “dangerous” and had described the events as “just an ordinary police chase”.

Previously unissued photo dated 19/09/19 of Albert Bowers (left) and Jessie Cole (centre) leaving Reading Magistrates Court following an appearance in relation to the death of PC Andrew Harper. Driver Henry Long, 19, has been found not guilty at the Old Bailey of murder, but had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter. His passengers Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter for the death of Pc Andrew Harper, who had been attempting to apprehe
Albert Bowers (L) and Jessie Cole (centre) leaving Reading Magistrates’ Court in September 2019

The Thames Valley police officer’s grieving widow, Lissie Harper, has said she was “utterly shocked and appalled” at the decision not to convict the trio of murder.

Mrs Harper, who was married to the police officer for just a month before he was killed, said she was “immensely disappointed” at the verdicts when she spoke outside court.

She has since called on the government to intervene, despite a retrial being unusual.

The trio were dragging this stolen quad bike away when PC Harper stopped them
The trio were dragging this stolen quad bike away when PC Harper stopped them

In an open letter posted to Facebook, Mrs Harper urged Boris Johnson to “have this miscarriage of justice overturned” and claimed there was “suspected interference” with the jury during the trial.

The Attorney General has no power to order a retrial.

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 , while one female juror was discharged after she was seen by a prison officer to mouth “Bye boys” to the teenagers in the dock.

Mr Justice Edis said there was no evidence that the jury had been pressured.

“It may be believed in some quarters that the jury was subject to some improper pressure,” he told the court.

“To the best of my knowledge and belief there is no truth in that at all.”

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