Berkshire

PC Andrew Harper: Family tribute to 'hero' officer

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Media captionThames Valley Police led a service at the force's training centre in Sulhamstead

The family of a police officer killed while investigating a burglary have paid tribute to him as forces across the country held a minute's silence.

PC Andrew Harper, 28, died after he was dragged along the road by a vehicle in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, on 15 August.

Thames Valley Police led the silence, which was observed by forces across the country, at 11:00 BST.

PC Harper's mother Debbie said she was moved by the "outpouring of love" since her son's death.

"We are devastated and bereft but as Andrew always lived, with dignity, honour and calmness we intend to grieve in this way," she said.

"A big part of me has gone with you, I cannot imagine our lives going forward but we will do so with Andrew in our hearts."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption PC Harper's relatives hugged after the silence
Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption L to R: Aimee (Andrew's sister) Phil (Andrew's father) Lissie, Andrew, Karen (Andrew's step-mother) Sean (Andrew's brother)

More than 100 officers and staff fell silent at the Thames Valley Police training centre in Sulhamstead, where flowers had been laid in the grounds.

PC Harper's family and friends stood in remembrance, placing a sunflower and a bouquet among the tributes. A police officer blew a whistle to mark the start of the silence.

Chief Constable John Campbell said the occasion was "not a memorial service", but a "time for gathering, a time for pause and a time to reflect".

He called PC Harper, who grew up in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, a "dearly loved and respected colleague, friend and proud police officer".

Force chaplain Helen Arnold led the remembrance service, praying for "family and close friends, for whom Andrew's death left such emptiness".

"This police family to which he belonged will not forget him," she said.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption PC Harper's wife Lissie said her husband was "the kindest, loveliest, most selfless person you will ever meet"

PC Harper, who got married four weeks before his death, was killed on the A4 Bath Road.

The roads policing officer, who became a regular officer in 2011 after joining as a special constable a year earlier, had attended a reported break-in with a fellow constable at about 23:30 BST.

A post-mortem examination concluded that he died of multiple injuries.

Image caption Forces across the country, including West Midlands Police, held a minute's silence for PC Harper

Forces in Hampshire, Leicestershire and Kent announced colleagues would join Thames Valley and fall silent to remember PC Harper.

Members of South Central Ambulance Service and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue service also took part.

A fundraising page set up by the Thames Valley Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, had raised more than £260,000 for his family.

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Media captionBlue ribbons have placed in tribute to PC Harper around his hometown

PC Harper's father, Phil, described his son as a "hero, if not a superhero".

"Although Andrew was the strongest man we knew, he was also a big softy with a huge heart," he added.

"Rest in peace my son, you have made us so proud of you and we will always love and miss you."

PC Harper's brother Sean and sister Aimee said their brother was the "funniest, bravest, most compassionate person" and was a "protector at heart".

PC Harper's wife Lissie, said her husband was the "kindest, loveliest, most selfless person you will ever meet".

Jed Foster, 20, who has been charged with murdering PC Harper, has been remanded in custody ahead of a potential trial next January.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption PC Andrew Harper was married just four weeks before he was killed

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