The widow of a British policeman who was killed after being dragged behind a getaway car has launched a campaign to make killing emergency services workers punishable by life in jail.
Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed while on duty in Berkshire, England, in August 2019.
His three killers, Henry Long, 19, Albert Bowers, 18, and Jessie Cole, 18, were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter at London’s Old Bailey in July.
Long, the driver of the getaway car, was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Bowers and Cole, the two passengers in the car, were sentenced to 13 years each.
Widow Lissie Harper’s campaign, named “Harper’s Law,” calls for harsher sentencing for the convicted killers of emergency services workers.
Her campaign is backed by the Police Federation of England and Wales.
“Lissie Harper has vowed to fight for a change in the law in memory of her late husband so that anyone killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, or paramedic is jailed for life,” the Police Federation said in a statement.
In the statement, Harper called for the British public and politicians to back her campaign.
She said that as a police officer’s widow she had witnessed “first-hand” the lenient way criminals who kill emergency services personnel are dealt with by the British judiciary.
“The people responsible for wreaking utter despair and grief in all of our lives will spend an inadequate amount of time behind bars,” she said.
The men who had taken her husband’s “innocent and heroic” life had shown no sorrow or remorse, she said, yet could continue with their lives and be free to reoffend after they are released from jail.
According to the Police Federation, Harper intends to meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel in the coming weeks when she will call for a change in the law.
Call of Duty
Andrew Harper was killed in on Aug. 15 last year while still at work several hours after his scheduled finishing time, according to trial documents.
As they were the closest officers on duty at the time, he and a colleague responded to a late-night report about the theft of a quad bike.
He approached a car parked in a country road with Long, the driver, and passengers Bowers and Cole inside.
The car had a looped strap coming from the boot area that had been used to tow a stolen quad bike.
The car sped off after Harper’s ankles became entangled in the looped strap.
He was then dragged by the ankles for around a mile and “swung from side to side like a pendulum in an effort to dislodge him,” the trial documents said.
He died in the road from the “catastrophic” injuries he had sustained.
Andrew Harper was 28 at the time of his death and had been married to Lissie Harper for just 4 weeks.