PC Andrew Harper’s wife says she is been ‘let down’ as Judge refuses to extend smirking teens killers ‘soft’ sentences


Agony appears to heighten for the wife of Andrew Harper, the hero cop, 28, who was dragged to his death while responding to a quad bike theft near Reading, Berkshire on August 15 last year.

According to the Sun report, the Court of Appeal dismissed challenges by the Attorney General and the trio, ruling that their sentences will not be changed.

Attorney General Suella Braverman wanted the killers' sentences increased, while the teens had asked for them to be lowered.

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

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

All three were cleared of murder, much to the dismay of the slain cop's family.

His devastated wife Lissie Harper, who wed her childhood sweetheart four weeks before his death, said she had been "let down" by the justice system after campaigning for the three to be given stronger sentences.

In a heartbreaking statement released today, she said: "My husband was killed in a barbaric way that has seen the nation shocked.

"This single act has rocked the lives of so many people who both loved Andrew and those who have watched from afar the heart-breaking story of his death.

"To take someone's life surely should mean to have your own freedom taken in return. Yet these criminals will see the light of day far, far earlier than they ever deserve to."

Lissie said she felt "let down" by the justice system, saying the law was "inadequate".

Grieving Lissie said she missed her husband more everyday.

Credit: PA:Press Association.

Lissie has been campaigning for the killers to be given stronger sentences.

Credit: PA:Press Association.

PC Harper's killers pictured left to right: Henry Long, 19, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18.

Credit: PA:Press Association

"Many months have passed since I sat in a cold and soulless courtroom, awaiting the fate to be given to the criminals who took my husband's life and our future together," she said.

"Many days I have spent fighting against an inadequate sentence and a wrong-doing that I could not accept.

"Of course, no punishment, no time in prison will ever serve to make up for the theft of someone's life, and not just someone, but an incredible person who gave without greed or expectation to his fellow man, and I will be eternally proud to call Andrew my husband.

"I miss him more as each day passes and I will continue to live my life in his honour, with respect, love and an unbreakable moral code."

And she said she would continue to fight for the implementation of Harper's Law, calling for those convicted of manslaughter to be jailed for life if the victim is an emergency worker.

PC Harper's mum Debbie said in a statement: "We are obviously disappointed by either way this would not bring back Andrew to us.

"We know that nothing could ever make that happen and that's what we would wish for the most."

SENTENCES UNCHANGED

Today, Dame Victoria Sharp described the circumstances of PC Harper’s death as “dreadful”, but said: “All three of these offenders remain convicted of the manslaughter of PC Harper, but the length of their custodial sentences will remain unaltered.”

Lawyers representing Long, Cole and Bowers, who appeared by video link from HMP Belmarsh, argued their sentences were too long and should be reduced.

The Court of Appeal rejected the appeals against their sentences for manslaughter as "wholly unarguable".

The court reduced the sentences imposed on the pair for conspiracy to steal, from 38 months' detention to an 18-month detention and training order given their ages at the time of the offence.

However, Dame Victoria said: "This does not affect the sentences for manslaughter and, because the sentences were concurrent, it does not affect the overall length of the sentences.

"The effect of our decision is that all three offenders remain convicted of the manslaughter of PC Harper and the overall length of their custodial sentences remain unaltered."

At a hearing in November, Attorney General Suella Braverman had said the trio's sentences should be increased, for an offence that was "as serious a case of manslaughter as it is possible to envisage".

Dame Victoria Sharp - sitting with Lord Justice Holroyde and Mr Justice William Davis - gave the court's ruling on the appeals today.

During the trial, the court heard that the masked teens, who have a long list of previous convictions, had tried to steal a £10,000 bike armed with an axe, crowbars and a length of pipe when they were apprehended by PC Harper.

As the cop got out of his unmarked BMW police car, Cole unhitched the bike and made a bid for freedom through the passenger window.

But tragically, PC Harper's ankles became tangled in the two ropes attached to the teens' getaway car as they sped off.

 


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