Widow of policeman killed by three teenagers launches campaign to bring in life sentences
The widow of policeman Andrew Harper – dragged to his death by teenagers in a getaway car – has started a petition calling for tougher jail terms.
Lissie Harper wants “Harper’s Law” to give life sentences for people who kill emergency service workers.
She hopes to secure a meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel to take up the campaign.
Lissie, 29, is supported by the Police Federation which looks after 120,000 rank-and-file officers.
Pc Harper died from “catastrophic injuries” after becoming entangled in a tow rope tied to a getaway car.
Three teenagers were in the act of stealing a quad bike when Pc Harper arrived the scene.
The three were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter.
Henry Long, 19, was jailed for 16 years and Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were given 13 years.
Mrs Harper told the Press Association (PA) news agency:
“What Harper’s Law would target is if someone is convicted of killing a police officer, or any frontline worker for that matter, then they would go to prison for life.
“Ultimately if somebody goes out and makes a decision to do something in a criminal way that has the result of killing someone who is a police officer, a nurse, a doctor, even people in the fire service, that they should expect to receive an appropriate sentence for it.
“Henry Long could be out in just over 10 years, whereas Andrew doesn’t have his life.”
Mrs Harper added: “We’ve had so much support from everyone, from members of the public.
“I can’t tell you how many messages I’ve had from people saying, ‘yes, this needs to happen’.
“I’ve had a lot of messages saying, ‘what can we do, how can we help? We support Harper’s Law’.
“This is something that we want people to do, we want them to sign and share the petition as much as possible, just to show how much support there is for it and how many people want this.”
Andrew and Lissie Harper had only been married a month before the Thames Valley officer was killed a year ago.
Lissie said the Old Bailey trial made her determined to bring about a change in the law.
She said: “You expect that process to be fair and at the end of it get some justice, and that just didn’t happen for us.
“Sitting in court and witnessing it all and then getting to the verdict has just made me more determined now to do something.
“I just thought, ‘well, this isn’t how it should be.
“Maybe there’s something that I can do to change it’, hence Harper’s Law.
“It was something that I had spoken to the Police Federation about before that, but that was the moment that I thought ‘right, now something needs to change’.
“At the end of it there would have been almost a guaranteed level of justice, instead of ‘they’re going to go away for a few years and then they’ll be back out’.
“If someone has taken someone’s life because of criminal activity they deserve to spend a proportionate amount of their lives in prison.”
The petition is at https://www.change.org/HarpersLaw