Great Britain

PC Andrew Harper’s cop colleagues hold special memorial service to honour him on 1-year anniversary of senseless death

PC Andrew Harper's colleagues are today holding a special memorial service to mark the one-year anniversary of his tragic death.

The officer, 28, was dragged to his death while responding to a quad bike theft on August 15 last year.

His close family, colleagues from Thames Valley Police and the force’s chief constable are attending a private service this morning.

The memorial is taking place at the force’s training centre in Sulhamstead, Berkshire.

Another service is also being held at the same time at Newbury police station, which will be attended by officers who were first on the scene when PC Harper was brutally killed.

A wreath for the fallen officer was laid and a minute's silence was held at 11am by fellow cops across the country to honour him.

The flag at Newbury was also flown at half mast in a mark of respect for PC Harper.

Paying tribute at the service, Reverend Chris Maguire said: "Andrew, we remember you in the stories and laughter, the secrets of friendship that we treasure, in the risk of vulnerability, encouragement and the support you offered, we remember you.

"In the depths of our sharing, in our struggling, our caring, our living. We will always remember you.

"As we pause today to remember Andrew, we give thanks for his service and deeply saddened that he lost his life while protecting others."

Tomorrow - the actual one-year anniversary of his senseless death - has been left free of commemorations.

Thames Valley Police said this is so PC Harper’s family and colleagues “can mark that date however they wish to”.

It comes amid fury that his three teen killers could be out of jail in just eight years.

Albert Bowers, 18, Henry Long, 19, and Jessie Cole, 18, were cleared of murder much to the slain cop's family's dismay.

They were instead convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter - meaning the trio have been handed a lesser prison sentence of just 42 years in total.

All three warned they will not be eligible for release until they have served at least two thirds of their sentence - meaning "leader of the gang" Long could be back on the streets in just ten years.

And his accomplices could be out in just eight years if they serve the minimum term of their 13-year sentence.

PC Harper's devastated wife Lissie, who wed her childhood sweetheart, 28, four weeks before his death, has now joined his mum Debbie Adlam's calls for tougher jail terms on cop killers.

The Andrew’s Law campaign for a “mandatory” 20-year minimum prison sentence for those convicted of killing police officers was launched last week.

Her cause is being backed by the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents thousands of officers up to the rank of chief inspector.

Lissie had bravely faced her husband's killers in court as she revealed she has "screamed and cried every day" since he was killed.

The couple had been planning their honeymoon together when he was killed while in the line the of duty.

She broke down twice as she read from a heart-wrenching statement, saying: "My husband was brutally killed four weeks after our wedding day.

"Should I speak again of how we were robbed of our future or the plans stolen from us?

"Four weeks was all I had with my husband - four weeks to be called his wife.

"My life often feels bleak, hopeless, irreparable.

"Every aspect of my life since Andrew was taken is bitterly different."

PC Harper's mum Debbie Adlam also read a statement to the court describing how her first-born child has been "ripped" from her.

She added: "My family and I feel broken - can you imagine a loved one dying with such indignity?"

A car driven by Long at "breakneck speed" swung PC Harper "like a pendulum" along a country lane as he responded to a burglary near Reading, Berks.

The masked teens, who have a long list of previous convictions, had tried to steal a £10,000 bike armed with an axe, crowbars and a length of pipe when they were apprehended by PC Harper.

As the cop got out of his unmarked BMW police car, Cole unhitched the bike and made a bid for freedom through the passenger window.

But tragically, PC Harper's ankles became tangled in the two rope attached to the teens' getaway car as they sped off.

The hero cop was dragged along the country lane at speeds of up to 60mph leaving him with horrific injuries.

His heartless killers smirked and dozed off in court as the gruesome catalogue of wounds was read to the court.

Jurors were told PC Harper would have been knocked unconscious almost immediately and was therefore unable to free himself.

He had been stripped completely naked - including his stab vest being ripped off - except from his socks after being dragged for more than a mile by the thugs.

Horrified colleagues said he was "barely alive" when they came across him but the officer couldn't be saved and tragically died a short time later at the scene.

The Attorney General has now received a request to review the sentences handed to the teen killers.

A spokesman said: "The Attorney General's thoughts are with the family and friends of Pc Andrew Harper at this difficult time.

"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."

But tragically, PC Harper's ankles became tangled in the two rope attached to the teens' getaway car as they sped off.

PC Harper's mum tells of agony at watching his remorseless teen killers laugh and joke in court

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