National & International

PC Andrew Harper’s widow asks for murder retrial

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PC Andrew Harper’s widow has written to the prime minister asking for a retrial after her husband’s killers were acquitted of murder charges, according to Independent.

Lissie Harper said it was “a despicable wrong” that Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole had been convicted of manslaughter but cleared of murder.

The trio killed her husband by driving for more for than a mile at speeds of 40mph after he had become lassoed in a tow strap attached to their vehicle.

Now, in an open letter to Boris Johnson and home secretary Priti Patel posted to Facebook, Ms Harper has demanded the three boys must be tried again.

She described the trial as “atrociously below board” and suggested jurors may have been intimidated by the families and friends of the defendants, who come from the traveller community and who camped outside court in large numbers every day.

She said: “I implore you to hear my words… and I ask with no expectations other than hope that you might help me to make these changes be considered, to ensure that Andrew is given the retrial that he unquestionably deserves and to see that the justice system in our country is the solid ethical foundation that it rightly should be. Not the joke that so many of us now view it to be.”

Ms Harper added: ‘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 teenagers, themselves – who said PC Harper’s death was a “freak accident” – hugged each other after the verdicts were returned following more than 12 hours of deliberations.

They are due to be sentenced on Friday.

Neither the Home Office nor Prime Minister has yet responded to the open letter, but Crown Prosecution Service guidelines say retrials may be sought if there is significant public interest – although they are only generally carried out if compelling new evidence emerges or it is proven that a jury was interfered with.

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