PC Andrew Harper's widow 'positive' over talks with home secretary

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Image source, Martis Media
Image caption, Lissie Harper (second from right) was joined by Sgt Andy Fiddler (right) as she spoke to Robert Buckland and Priti Patel (left)

The widow of PC Andrew Harper said she was feeling "positive" after meeting the home secretary to discuss a new law which would see those who kill emergency workers jailed for life.

Lissie Harper spoke to Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland about the proposed Harper's Law.

PC Harper sustained catastrophic injuries when he was dragged behind a getaway car in Berkshire last August.

Driver Henry Long, 19, received 16 years, while his accomplices Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18, were jailed for 13 years.

Image source, Martis Media
Image caption, Lissie Harper told Home Secretary Priti Patel the "justice system is broken"

Mrs Harper said the meeting "went really well".

"I'm really positive about the outcome… and clearly [Ms Patel and Mr Buckland] want to support us in trying to achieve this so I am very encouraged," she added.

During the meeting she said sentences handed to criminals who kill emergency services workers were "shocking and substandard" and that the justice system was "broken".

Speaking afterwards, she said she described to Ms Patel "how it feels to look the people responsible for my husband's death in the eye, knowing that they show no remorse for their actions".

Image source, Family handout
Image caption, Half a million people have signed a petition backing the law change following PC Andrew Harper's death

Mrs Harper said Ms Patel and Mr Buckland "promised to work with us and support us in achieving our goal of providing justice to families of emergency services workers and stiffer and more appropriate sentences for those who take their lives".

"We need to properly protect our protectors. And I promise I won't be shying away from the limelight to keep the pressure on those in power to make this happen," she added.

Mrs Harper said the Harper's Law campaign was not seeking whole life sentences, but wanted a life sentence with a "proportionate amount of time" in prison for people who caused the death of emergency service workers with intent.

She explained it would be a "separate conviction" to murder and manslaughter "which will mean if somebody sets out to commit a crime and as a result of that crime [an emergency service worker] is killed, then they receive this sentencing".

Image source, Thames Valley Police
Image caption, Jessie Cole (l) and Albert Bowers (r) were convicted along with Henry Long (centre)

Newlywed PC Harper, 28, from Wallingford, Oxfordshire, was dragged for more than a mile along after he and a colleague responded to reports of a quad bike theft in August last year.

The teenagers, who were acquitted of murder, have lodged applications to challenge their sentences.

The Court of Appeal will also hear an application by Attorney General Suella Braverman under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

The home secretary is due to meet separately with Debbie Adlam, PC Harper's mother, who Shas launched a separate campaign named Andrew's Law calling for killers of emergency service workers to serve at least 20 years in jail.

In a joint statement, Ms Patel and Mr Buckland said PC Harper was "a hero whose loss has been felt across the country".

"We were pleased to sit down with Lissie today. She is extraordinarily courageous and her dedication to honouring her husband's memory is commendable."

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