PC Andrew Harper: Criminals Killing Contingency Workers Risk Mandatory Life Sentences Under Law Change | UK News

Those who kill emergency members will face mandatory life sentences after the government decided to support a law change prompted by the death of PC Andrew Harper.

The government will introduce “Harper’s Law” as soon as possible, to impose mandatory life sentences for those who kill an emergency worker in the performance of their duties.

It follows the tireless campaign of PC Andrew Harper’s family and his widow Lissie Harper, who was asked to act when the 28-year-old was killed while answering a call about a stolen quad in Berkshire on 15 August 2019.

PC Harper was killed shortly after his wedding and before his honeymoon.  Photo: Thames Valley Police
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PC Harper was killed shortly after his wedding to his wife Lissie and before his honeymoon. Photo: Thames Valley Police

Lissie Harper said: “Rescue workers need extra protection. I know all too well how they are exposed to risk and into the depths of danger on a regular basis on behalf of society. That protection is what Harper’s Law will provide, and it I am glad that it will soon become a reality.

“It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work. I know Andrew would be proud to see Harper’s Law reach this important milestone.”

PC Harper was caught in a rope Henry Long and his two passengers, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, had used to tow the bike and dragged to death as they tried to drive away from police.

Long, 19, was jailed for 16 years and his 18-year-old passengers were each jailed for 13 years in July due to the death of the young traffic officer.

Long, who was described by prosecutors as the leader of the group, admitted PC Harper’s manslaughter.

Undated handout file images issued by Thames Valley Police by (left to right), Henry Long, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers.  The Court of Appeal will decide whether Pc Andrew Harper's murderers' convictions for manslaughter are "unnecessarily mild" following an offer from the Attorney General to have them elevated.
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(Left to Right), Henry Long, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers

Cole and Bowers were found guilty of manslaughter by a jury at Old Bailey.

All three were acquitted of PC Harper’s murder by the same jury, which debated for more than 12 hours.

An appeal by the Attorney General to increase their time behind bars was rejected.

The movement extends mandatory life sentences to anyone who commits manslaughter on an emergency aid worker on duty – including police, prison guards, firefighters and paramedics – while committing another crime, unless there are truly unusual circumstances.

Lissie Harper doubles her campaign
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Lissie Harper has been the galleon figure for the campaign

The courts must already impose life sentences for murder, with a life sentence as a starting point if the victim is a police officer. The time in prison during a mandatory life sentence is determined by a judge.

Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State Dominic Raab said: “We will pass mandatory life sentences in law for those who wrongfully kill an aid worker during their duty. I pay tribute to Lissie Harper’s remarkable campaign.

“This government is on the side of the victims and their families, and we want our emergency services to know that we will always have their backs.”

Interior Minister Priti Patel said: “PC Andrew Harper’s killing was shocking. In addition to a dedicated police officer he was a man and a son. It is thanks to the dedication of Lissie and his family that I am proud to be able to honor Andrews life by introducing Harper’s law.

“Those who seek to harm our relief workers represent the very worst of humanity, and it is true that future killers will be deprived of the freedom to take to the streets with a life sentence.”

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