PC Andrew Harper: Attorney General to review killers' sentences

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Jessie Cole, Henry Long and Albert BowersImage source, Thames Valley Police
Image caption,
Jessie Cole, Henry Long and Albert Bowers (L-R) were convicted of killing PC Harper

Three teenagers jailed for killing a police officer will have their sentences reviewed after claims they are too lenient.

PC Andrew Harper suffered catastrophic injuries after his ankles got caught in a strap attached to a getaway car in Berkshire last August.

Driver Henry Long was jailed for 16 years and accomplices Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole for 13 years on Friday.

PC Harper's mother, Debbie Adlam, said her son "deserved so much better".

She added the family felt like they had been "knocked sideways" by the length of the prison terms.

"The case just hasn't brought justice for him," she said.

"The wider public has made that very obvious - they are all very angry and police officers deserve better than has been received in this case."

'Very severe'

The Attorney General's Office said it had been asked to review the sentences. Its officers have 28 days from sentencing to review the case

John Howell, who was PC Harper's MP, previously said he would ask for a review of the manslaughter sentences after the teenagers were cleared of murder.

The Henley MP said "the crime of manslaughter is a very serious one" and the sentences "handed down by the judge are very severe".

But he added: "The question is does the punishment fit the crime?

"I am asking the Attorney General to look at the sentences given to determine whether they are unduly lenient, and, if they are, to seek in the Court of Appeal to have them extended."

Image caption,
PC Andrew Harper's wedding took place four weeks before he was killed

The maximum sentence a judge can impose for manslaughter is life imprisonment but they must specify a minimum term to be served.

Sentencing the teenagers at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Edis said each of the sentences had to reflect "the seriousness of this case".

He said: "Manslaughter cases range greatly in seriousness.

"Sometimes death may be caused by an act of gross carelessness, sometimes it is very close to a case of murder in its seriousness. That is so, here."

The judge said the killers were "young, unintelligent but professional criminals".

Media caption,

Albert Bowers (left) and Jessie Cole were seen laughing as they left court after a previous appearance

Last week PC Harper's widow Lissie wrote to the prime minister to ask for a retrial after Long, Bowers and Cole were acquitted of murder.

In an open letter on Facebook, she called for "the retrial that [PC Harper] unquestionably deserves".

Long, 19, from Mortimer, Reading, pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murder, saying he did not know PC Harper was attached to the vehicle.

He was given a reduction on his sentence because he pleaded guilty and must serve a minimum of 10 years and eight months in jail.

Bowers, of Moat Close, Bramley, and Cole, of Paices Hill near Reading, both 18, admitted they were passengers, but denied ever seeing the police officer.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office said: "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."

Attorney General Suella Braverman will decide by 28 August if the Court of Appeal should look at the sentences again.