The widow of a policeman dragged to his death by a getaway car has written an emotional open letter to the Prime Minister demanding a retrial of the three men acquitted of his murder.
Lissie Harper, 29, described the trial for the three teenagers responsible for PC Andrew Harper’s death as ‘atrociously below board’ and suggested jurors may have been intimidated by the defendants’ families or friends.
One female juror had been dismissed on the penultimate day after she was heard to say ‘goodbye boys’ to the defendants as she left court.
Mrs Harper, who had married the Thames Valley officer just four weeks before he was killed in August last year, urged Boris Johnson to help give her husband ‘the retrial that he unquestionably deserves’.
Henry Long, 19, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, were found not guilty of murdering the 28-year-old at the Old Bailey last week, but all three will be sentenced for manslaughter on Friday.
The Thames Valley officer was killed when he was dragged more than a mile after his ankle became caught in a tow strap of a getaway car as he tried to stop the trio stealing a quadbike.
The chaotic trial had to be restarted after the original one was halted by the pandemic in March.
It emerged that police had received intelligence the jury might be ‘nobbled’ by the supporters of the defendants, who are members of the traveller community.
Jurors had been given extra security and were referred to by number rather than name.
Members of the defendants’ families were present in the public gallery throughout the trial.
When the verdicts were handed down the three teenagers whooped, cheered and hugged each other over the video link from HMP Belmarsh.
‘Not only were the three remorseless men found not guilty by a possibly influenced jury of 11, but the way in which the trial was conducted, the suspected interference with the jury and the manner in which the defendants behaved was a total disregard for any legal justice system,’ Mrs Harper wrote, posting the letter on Facebook yesterday.
The letter was addressed to the Prime Minister, Home Secretary Priti Patel and former home secretary David Blunkett.
Mrs Harper wrote: ‘What is this country if it does not provide justice for the innocent? What does it say to the public and the police officers, old and new if every day they go out and put themselves at risk to detain these criminals just to witness them be treated so exceptionally lightly in the eyes of the law?’
The newlywed couple, who were married at a Georgian manor in Oxfordshire, had planned to have their honeymoon in the Maldives.
Crown Prosecution Service guidelines state that the decision to seek a retrial depends upon the public interest.
Only cases involving significant public interest factors in favour of prosecution warrant a retrial.