Hero PC Andrew Harper killing: Attorney General asked to consider if jail terms unduly lenient

The prison terms given to three teenage boys who murdered a cop as they attempted to run away from the crime scene have been referred to the attorney general, who will be looking into claims they are unduly lenient.

  • PC Harper, 28, from the Thames Valley Police, was killed in a horrible way in August 2020
  • The officer had attempted to stop three teens from escaping after they stole a quadbike 
  • He was dragged by car after getting caught in a strap
  • The three teens aged 18 and 19 were jailed for manslaughter
  • The Attorney General’s Office revealed it was asked to investigate whether prison terms were lenient
  • The grieving family strongly opposes the original sentences

The leader of the group, Henry Long, 19, received a sentence of 16 years behind bars for the killing of police officer Andrew Harper in August 2019, while the other boys, Jesse Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18 years of age, were given sentences of 13 years at a hearing at the Old Bailey a week ago.

Cole and Bowers could be released on license after serving less than 9 years in prison while Long could be let go in less than 11 years, under legislation that states that each person must serve two-thirds of their sentence to become eligible for release.

Last Tuesday, the office of Suella Braverman, the attorney general for England and Whales, said it had been asked to look into whether the prison terms were unduly lenient. 

“The attorney general’s thoughts are with the family and friends of PC Andrew Harper at this difficult time,” a spokesperson for the office said.

“I can confirm that we have received a request for the cases of Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole to be considered under the unduly lenient sentence scheme. The Law Officers have 28 days from sentencing to consider the case.”

Harper was murdered while attempting to catch the three boys as they tried to steal a quad bike.

He got tangled in a strap hanging from the back of their car as they were making for an escape at high speed.

Harper’s mother, Deborah Adlam, said his loved ones “really felt” the ruling had been unduly lenient.

“I think because there were so many years knocked off for being of a certain age and for admitting manslaughter early on – the years they are going to do once they have taken out their allowances … to me that’s criminal,” Adlam said.

“Andrew deserves so much better. And we can’t bring him back but all we can do is try and hope that there’s something better to give him the justice he deserves, and give us some kind of closure,” she added.

After the sentences were given, Harper’s grieving wife, Lissie, expressed her disappointment that her husband’s murderers were not convicted of murder but manslaughter, by a jury that found it had not been fully proven whether the boys knew the officer was being dragged behind their car.

The attorney general does not have the authority to order a retrial, and prosecutors would either have to bring forward new compelling evidence for the sentences to be reviewed or there would need to be proven interference with the jury.

Measures were introduced to shield the jury and one female juror, in particular, was discharged after she was spotted by a prison guard to mouth “Bye boys” to the teens in the dock. 

However, the trial judge, Mr. Justice Edis, said there was no concrete evidence the jury had been pressured in any way.

“It may be believed in some quarters that the jury was subject to some improper pressure. To the best of my knowledge and belief, there is no truth in that at all,” he told the Old Bailey.

What are your thoughts on this story? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve found it informative. 

Source: DailyMail

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