PC Andrew Harper's wife to meet Priti Patel today to fight for longer jail terms

PC Andrew Harper's wife will meet with the Home Secretary today to fight for tougher sentences for those who kill emergency workers.

After all three of PC Harper's killers were spared life sentences, widow Lissie launched a campaign for a change in the law to see that all criminals die behind bars if they are convicted of killing a police officer.




A petition backing the "vital and urgent" law change now has more than 650,000 signatures.

Lissie, 29, was contacted by the Home Office last week to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Priti Patel.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland will also join the high-level meeting at the Home Office this morning.

And sources said once ministers had listened to Lissie, they will commission a review into judges' sentencing powers.

In a blog post at the weekend, Lissie wrote: "Harper's Law will be a law which will mean that a person found guilty of killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, paramedic or prison officer as a direct result of a crime they have committed, then they would be jailed for life.

"This means that a life sentence would be imposed, asking for a minimum term in prison. Details we plan to discuss with politicians and decision makers soon."

She said the campaign was not calling for whole-life orders, which would see perpetrators jailed without ever being released.


Appearing yesterday on Good Morning Britain today, Lissie said: "We need some form of justice should the worst thing happen to them (emergency service workers).

"Losing someone in that way, you can never prepare yourself for.

"Dealing with the grief is a tremendous effort, so when it comes to the court case you do think 'this will be hard, but we'll get through it and at the end of it Andrew will have some justice' and for that not to happen is heartbreaking.

"I felt an overwhelming sense of disappointment for him because I thought he'd been totally let down and that's what brings me to creating this new law."

Lissie, 29, and her 28-year-old husband, a Thames Valley Police offer, had been married for just four weeks when he was killed after responding to a late-night burglary in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, in August last year.

Last week Henry Long, one of PC Harper's killers, applied for permission to appeal against his 16-year prison sentence.

His co-accused, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, have also lodged applications seeking permission to challenge their convictions and their 13-year prison sentences.

All three were acquitted of murder but sentenced for the lesser charge of manslaughter after PC Harper got caught in a crane strap attached to the back of a car driven by Long, and was dragged to his death along dark country lanes.

Referring to their appeals, Lissie said: "I'm not overly surprised but pretty appalled that these people having shown no remorse now think it's within their right to appeal. Already the sentences are far too lenient.

"It feels totally wrong to me, which is why this campaign is so important.

"They just don't see what they've done. There isn't a deterrent for these people. They think they can commit crime and even take people's lives and that's acceptable but it isn't and we're disgusted by that sort of behaviour."

The group will have to serve at least two thirds of their sentences before they are eligible for release.

Long could be released in ten years and eight months. Bowers and Cole could also be eligible for release in eight years and six months.

The prison sentences given to all three have already been referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General for judges to decide whether they were too lenient.





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