Full statement: PC Andrew Harper’s widow ‘has her own sentence to bear’

PC ANDREW Harper’s widow has said she is “immensely disappointed” after three teenagers were cleared of murder following the “barbaric” killing.

The newlywed officer, 28, became entangled in a tow rope attached to their Seat Toledo as he tried to apprehend them.

He was dragged for more than a mile along country lanes in West Berkshire before he was dislodged, having suffered horrific fatal injuries.

A jury deliberated for more than 12 hours to clear all three of murder but convict Cole and Bowers of manslaughter.

The defendants, who had previously been seen laughing in the dock, hugged each other.

ALSO READ: Teenage driver in PC Harper court case found not guilty of murder

Following the verdicts, PC Harper’s widow Lissie thanked the police and prosecution who had “stood in our corner and fought to make sure these men were made to repent for their barbaric crimes”.

She said: “Standing here before all of you I honestly thought I would be addressing you following a very different verdict.

“I had planned to talk of the beautiful future Andrew and I had before us, I expected my words to be so very different and in all honesty 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.

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“For many many agonising months we have hoped that justice would come in some way for Andrew, we have put our faith in the justice system and all who work within it.

“We have waited with baited breath and heavy hearts as the dedicated prosecution Barristers, investigation team and Thames Valley Police officers have worked tirelessly and whom we thank sincerely for all that they have done, as they stood in our corner and fought to ensure that these men were made to repent for their barbaric crimes.

“No verdict or sentence will ever bring my incredible, selfless and heroic husband back, the results from this trial I had hoped would bring justice, but in reality make no difference to the heart wrenching pain I will continue to feel for the rest of my life.

“Andrew was taken from us on that horrendous night last year, his life was stolen and the lives of his family and friends altered forever.”

ALSO READ: Lead officer in PC Harper murder investigation speaks out

“This crime whatever the outcome deliberated over in court was brutal and senseless, the way in which Andrew was robbed of his life we all know to be barbaric and inexplicable. And I am immensely disappointed with the verdict given today.

“Andrew served in Thames Valley Police with honour, he went out night after night, risking his life for the safety and well being of the innocent, as all police officer do with passion.

“Ultimately he laid down his life for us all and it pains me more than I can ever explain that this has not been appreciated by the very people who should have seen his heroic and selfless duty. As so many other members of the public, total strangers clearly do.

“Myself and Andrew’s family will never come to terms with our new lives, we will never understand how such a beautiful, loving, decent human being could be dealt this fate.

“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.

“Myself and our families will spend the rest of our days missing him, loving him and being utterly proud of the incredible Man that he was.

Reading Chronicle:

“We will never forget the kindness we as a family have received from all who have supported us over the past year, friends, family, total strangers and the almighty unity of the Thin blue line.

“From the depths of our hearts, Thank you.”

Reading Chronicle