TRAGIC PC Andrew Harper’s smirking killers were given nearly £500,000 of taxpayers’ cash in legal aid for their trial, The Sun can reveal.
The officer’s widow Lissie, 29, has blasted the huge bill spent on defending Henry Long, 19, and Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18 – and said: ‘Now we know the cost of injustice.’
She said the cost saddened her but encouraged her to fight for Harper’s Law, which would see tougher sentences given to killers of emergency workers.
“Not only did we not get justice for Andrew, we now know the cost of that injustice,” she told the Daily Mail.
“This just doesn’t seem right or fair.
“Andrew was my whole life.
“I have had to sit in a courtroom and witness the people who chose to take my husband’s life show no remorse.”
And Mrs Harper says she believes members of the public will feel the same way.
“I am sure the public – whose support for me has been unstinting – will be as horrified as I am to know how much money is going towards paying this trio’s escalating legal costs,” she said.
PC Harper, 28, suffered catastrophic injuries when he was dragged behind a getaway car in Bradfield Southend, Berks, in August last year.
But Long, Bowers and Cole were all controversially cleared of murder and were instead convicted of manslaughter.
Driver Long got 16 years while passengers Bowers and Cole both got 13 years.
They got shorter sentences because of the lesser conviction.
But the terms have now been referred to the Attorney General, who will consider whether or not they are unduly lenient.
Meanwhile, Bowers and Cole are trying to challenge their convictions and sentences — meaning the legal aid bill will rise further.
The cost of defence solicitors during police interviews and then solicitors and barristers for their trial at the Old Bailey last month came to £465,767.
Long got £169,174, Bowers £131,695 and Cole £164,898
Mrs Harper said: “It saddens me — but does not surprise me — that so much public money has been and continues to be spent on defending the indefensible.
“These individuals continue to show no remorse for their heinous crimes.
It saddens me — but does not surprise me — that so much public money has been spent on defending the indefensible.
“It’s news such as this that makes me more determined than ever to keep on fighting for Harper’s Law, which would mean these despicable criminals are jailed for life.
“That would be an appropriate deterrent and a suitable punishment.”
A source said of the legal aid bill: “It’s a huge sum of money. There’s no doubt the fact two of them are appealing will mean more taxpayers’ cash will be thrown at them.
“It’s already been a very controversial case with a lot of anger at the decision not to find them guilty of murder and the sentences then passed down to them.
“There’s a huge amount of support for Harper’s law.”
on on or EMAIL [email protected]