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Andrew Harper “would be immensely proud” as law comes into effect

Harper’s Law was one of the many changes that came into effect today under updates to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act.

Lissie Harper, the widow of Thames Valley PC Andrew Harper said she believes he is “smiling down at me with pride and love” after her campaign in his memory became law.

‘Harper’s Law’ extends mandatory life sentences to anyone who commits the manslaughter of an emergency worker on duty. Judges would determine the minimum term for offenders to be deemed eligible for release and there will be scope for judges to deviate from this in “truly exceptional circumstances”. 

The law has been campaigned for by Mrs Harper since the death of her husband on August 15 2019. 

PC Harper, 28, had died from his injuries after he was caught in a strap attached to the back of a car and dragged down a winding country road. The car was being driven by three teenagers who were fleeing the scene of a quad bike theft. He was killed hours after he was due to clock off and begin his honeymoon. 

Today, Lissie Harper has said: “I will never be rid of the hollowness that the burden of grief inflicts, but I know without hesitation that my husband Andrew would be immensely proud of this achievement in his name.

“Andrew believed in fairness and peace – he had the strongest moral compass of anyone I ever met and that is why I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is smiling down at me with pride and love as Harper’s Law, his legacy, is now achieved.”

Henry Long, 19, was sentenced to 16 years and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers were handed 13 years in custody over the manslaughter of the Thames Valley Police traffic officer. Today’s law will not be retrospective. 

Long, the leader of the group, admitted manslaughter, while passengers Cole and Bowers were convicted of manslaughter after a trial at the Old Bailey.

All three were cleared of murder by the jury.

Mrs Harper’s campaign was backed by Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab. 

Mrs Harper said:  “No longer will a family have to endure the pain of injustice in court as I did those many months ago – and that is a significantly powerful outcome.

“My trusted friend and Andrew’s colleague Insp Andy Fiddler, of Thames Valley Police, has been by my side fighting for this important cause since day one. After many long hours and days, journeys, meetings and events we can be proud of the hard work we put into our campaign. 

“I know that many, many people will feel vindication at actually being able to believe in some legislation written in our history books.

“I hope that this will help not only me but all of those who have experienced these cruel atrocities, we may never move on but we can try to move forward.”

She has said that she is ready to “find happiness again” and will retire from public life now the law change has come into effect. 

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