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PC Andrew Harper’s killers could have manslaughter jail terms INCREASED

The Attorney General today referred the sentences of PC Andrew Harper’s three killers to the Court of Appeal amid concerns they were too low.

Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18, have already lodged applications with the same court to challenge their manslaughter convictions and 13-year jail sentences.

They were jailed on July 31 alongside Henry Long, 19, who received 16 years in prison, for killing the Thames Valley Police officer when their getaway car dragged him to his death after his ankle became caught in its trailing tow rope in Berkshire.

But a jury at the Old Bailey cleared the trio of murder. The sentences were handed out by Mr Justice Edis.

The case was referred to Attorney General Suella Braverman under the scheme which allows crime victims, their families, prosecutors or the public to ask for a review of sentences they believe are too low.

Ms Braverman can only ask the Court of Appeal to review a sentence she considers to be ‘unduly lenient’, usually in cases where the judge is believed to have made a mistake or imposed a sentence outside the range of what is reasonable.

Speaking today, Ms Braverman said: ‘This was a horrific crime which resulted in the death of a much-respected police officer while he was on-duty, protecting his community. 

‘Having personally considered the details of this shocking case, I have decided to refer the sentences of PC Andrew Harper’s killers to the Court of Appeal.

‘Attacks made against emergency workers will not be tolerated and offenders should be punished with the greatest severity for such heinous crimes.’

Following today’s news, PC Harper’s widow Lissie Harper said: ‘This is great news and we thank the Attorney General for her swift decision.

‘The sentences for Andrew’s killers did not match their heinous crime. It was not justice and it needs to be addressed. 

‘Police officers need to be properly protected by the judicial system. And there must be appropriate punishments for those who would kill police officers.

‘We now await the outcome with interest and in the meantime we will continue to campaign for Harper’s Law – which is calling for those who kill emergency services workers to spend the rest of their lives in prison.

‘I would also like to thank the public for their continued and unstinting support.’

And his mother Debbie Adlam said this morning: ‘I’m pleased to see that the Attorney General Suella Braverman has taken the important step of referring the sentences to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.

‘My family and I know that the whole nation stands with us in outrage at the sentences handed down to my son’s killers.

‘We can only hope that a fairer outcome is reached by the Court of Appeal to deliver the justice that Andrew deserves.

‘As a family we will not stop campaigning until our blue light heroes are safer as they step out each and every day to protect us as a society.’

It comes as the officer’s widow Lissie, 29, launched the Harper’s Law campaign for automatic life sentences for those convicted of killing emergency service workers. 

She has requested a meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel and has been backed by the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents 120,000 officers.

Long, Bowers and Cole killed PC Harper by dragging him for more than a mile over winding country lanes at high speeds on August 15 last year. 

The traffic constable had been trying to stop the trio, from a travelling community in Reading, getting away with a stolen £10,000 quad bike.

The teenagers whooped and cheered over the videolink from Belmarsh Prison as they were cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter last month.

Long, the driver of the car who had previously admitted manslaughter, was jailed for 16 years and Cole and Bowers were given 13 years each.

Conservative MP John Howell has said he will suggest looking into changing the sentencing guidelines for police killers after meeting PC Harper’s relatives.

Ms Adlam and Mrs Harper have already launched campaigns for tougher punishments for those who kill police officers.

PC Harper’s widow and his family have argued their sentences were far too lenient. No date has been set for the court hearing of the appeals by Bowers and Cole. 

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