Friday, 25 Sep 2020

PC Harper widow reveals agony over shameless killers’ attempt to ‘get off’

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Henry Long, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers have all challenged their jail sentences for manslaughter. Lissie, 29, said she was “pretty appalled” by the appeals and said their sentences were already “far too lenient”. She said: “I’m not overly surprised, but I am pretty appalled that these people, having shown no remorse throughout the whole trial, now think that it’s in their right to appeal that.

“Already the sentences are far too lenient and they think ‘Well, let’s give it a go, let’s see if we can get off’.And that feels totally wrong to me.”

She was speaking to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on ITV’s Good Morning Britain yesterday about her campaign for Harper’s Law. Today she is due to meet Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Lissie was married to Andrew, 28, for just four weeks when he was dragged behind a car and killed while responding to a late-night burglary in August last year. She said: “Losing someone in that way, you can never prepare yourself for, and just dealing with the grief is a tremendous effort.

“When it comes to the court case, you know it’s going to be hard but we’ll get through and at the end of it Andrew will have some justice. For that not to happen is heartbreaking.

“I felt an overwhelming sense of disappointment for him as I thought he had totally been let down. That’s what brings me to creating this new law and I think it’s something we all can see really needs to happen.”

An online petition calling for Harper’s Law has gathered nearly 650,000 signatures.

Harper’s Law would mean a person found guilty of killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, paramedic or prison officer as a direct result of a crime would be given a life sentence.

Lissie said: “There isn’t a deterrent for these people. They think they can go out and commit crime and take people’s lives and that’s acceptable.

“It’s not to the rest of us. We’re disgusted by that sort of behaviour. This has given me something that maybe I can have some control over. I have an immense amount of support.

“Everything in my life is different now and I’ve got to find a new purpose.” The sentences given to Long, Bowers and Cole have also been referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General for judges to decide whether they were too lenient.

The Home Secretary yesterday reiterated her desire for thugs who attack police officers to face longer prison terms.

She said ministers are consulting on boosting the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker to two years from the standard one year.

Ms Patel said: “An assault on an emergency worker is reprehensible and it is thoroughly unacceptable.

“There should be strong sentences and just sentences for those individuals who know what they are doing.”

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