PC Andrew Harper: why a petition has been launched following the manslaughter verdict given to the police officer’s killers - and how to sign it

Furious signees are now calling for a retrial, including PC Andrew Harper's widow, who has added her name to the petition

Floral tributes are left at the scene where Police Constable Andrew Harper died (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Floral tributes are left at the scene where Police Constable Andrew Harper died (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Drawing nearly a quarter of a million signatories, a petition is calling for the manslaughter conviction against the killers of PC Andrew Harper to be overturned.

18-year-olds Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, and 19-year-old Henry Long were convicted of manslaughter but cleared of murder at the Old Bailey last week.

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Furious signees are now calling for a retrial, including PC Andrew Harper's widow, who has added her name to the petition and written to the Prime Minister.

Here's everything you need to know:

What happened to Andrew Harper?

Newlywed PC Andrew Harper, 28, became entangled in a tow rope attached to a Seat Toledo - being driven by Henry Long, with passengers Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole - as he tried to apprehend them.

The three men were trying to escape capture at Sulhamstead, Berkshire, after stealing a quad bike on 15 August 2019.

Long drove off at “breakneck” speed, dragging the Thames Valley Police officer for more than a mile along country lanes before he was dislodged, having suffered horrific injuries.

The teenagers admitted plotting the theft, and Long pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but each denied knowing that PC Harper was there.

All three of the accused were cleared of murder by an Old Bailey jury, which had deliberated for more than 12 hours, but Cole and Bowers were found guilty of manslaughter.

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Their defence claimed the incident was a “freak event” that none of them could have planned or foreseen what happened.

But the prosecution said given that PC Harper was 6ft and weighed 14 stone, the defendants must have been aware he was being dragged to his death

What does the petition say?

The petition's page claims "the three killers laughed and joked with each other during the trial and when Long was charged he said he 'didn't give a ****.'"

At the time of writing, it has received nearly 248,000 signatures.

One of those is from Debbie Adlam, the mother of Harper, who says her son "went to work to serve us all.

"I am disgusted that he has been let down. When they crossed the junction on A4 there’s no way they did not know he was there being thrown against the pavements.

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"Utterly and bitterly disgusted with the outcome," she added.

How do I sign the petition?

If you want to add your name to the petition, head to Change.org