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PC's widow shocked by verdict

The widow of PC Andrew Harper said she was "shocked and appalled" after a jury cleared three teenagers of his murder.
 
Lissie Harper had been married for only four weeks when her "incredible, selfless and heroic" husband was dragged for over a mile behind a car to his death.
 
In an emotional statement outside the Old Bailey she said, "Standing here, before all of you, I honestly thought I would be addressing you following a very different verdict… I am, for the second time in the space of one year, utterly shocked and appalled. The decisions made in these courts, by strangers, will never change the outcome that had already come to us. For many, many agonising months, we had hoped that justice would come in some way for Andrew".
 
Mrs Harper described her husband's death as "brutal and senseless" and said she was "immensely disappointed" with the jury's verdict. She paid tribute to her husband as a "beautiful, loving human being" and said, "I now have my own life sentence to bear and believe me when I say it will be a much more painful, soul-destroying and treacherous journey than anyone facing a meagre number of years in prison will experience."
 
She said that she and her family "had put our faith in the justice system … to ensure these men were made to repent for their barbaric crimes" and added "but in reality, they make no difference to the heart-wrenching pain I will continue to feel for the rest of my life."
 
The police officer had tried to intervene when he caught the gang stealing a quad bike. He became entangled in the tow rope attached to ringleader Henry Long's car and was dragged to his death.
 
Long, 19, along with Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18, had sat laughing throughout the trial. Even when PC Harper's body was compared to a "deer carcass" after being dragged for more than a mile down country lanes in Berkshire, Long, Bowers, and Cole continued smirking.
 
The trio were convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter amid allegations of a plot to intimidate the jury.
 
Lord Blunkett said, "It throws considerable doubt on whether the whole of the jury should have been stood down and a retrial required. The verdict also raises issues … in respect of the definition of murder because although it might not be premeditated, it was murder."
 
Although still facing life for manslaughter all three teenagers are likely to serve far less time than if convicted of murder.
 
 

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