Police in silent tribute to officer killed while responding to burglary

Colleagues of a police officer who was killed responding to a burglary have paid tribute to him with a minute’s silence as his family said their “lives and hearts have been torn apart”.

Pc Andrew Harper, from Thames Valley Police, was killed last Thursday evening near the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire.

The 28-year-old newlywed died from multiple injuries after being dragged under a vehicle and was then possibly hit by a police car.

Over a hundred officers and staff fell silent at the Thames Valley Police training centre in Sulhamstead at 11am, where flowers had been laid in the grounds.

Pc Harper’s family and friends stood in remembrance with the force, placing a sunflower and a bouquet among the floral tributes and balloons.

A police officer blew a whistle to mark the start of the silence as police forces across the country also planned to fall silent in his honour.

Chief Constable John Campbell called Pc Harper a “dearly loved and respected colleague, friend and proud police officer”, adding it was a time for “gathering, a time to pause, and a time to reflect”.

Force chaplain Helen Arnold led the remembrance service, praying for his “family and close friends, for whom Andrew’s death left such emptiness”.

Police officer killed in Sulhamstead
The 28-year-old was killed responding to reports of a burglary in a Berkshire village (Family handout/PA)

“We remember Andrew, for how life was richer for knowing him,” she said.

“We give thanks for all that he gave, his enthusiasm, care for others, his commitment to policing.

“This Police Family to which he belonged will not forget him.”

Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole said his force will observe the silence, and Kent Police’s road policing unit also tweeted in support.

Pc Harper’s mother Debbie was among family members paying tribute him ahead of the silence of Friday.

After thanking police officers, paramedics and the general public, she said: “Going on to my dearest and desperately missed Andrew, our lives and hearts have been torn apart, to be taken from us all and his childhood sweetheart Lissie and her lovely family who have been his closest family of late.”

As a boy, she said Pc Harper was “always the most balanced, calm, caring, loving, but hilariously funny character”, adding: “Everything he did was with a smile.

“Weirdly I cannot even remember a time he was angry or in a bad mood.”

She finished by saying: “We are devastated and bereft but, as Andrew always lived, with dignity, honour and calmness, we intend to grieve in this way.

“A big part of me has gone with you. I cannot imagine our lives going forward but we will do so with Andrew in our hearts.”

Jed Foster, 20, has been charged with murder over the death of Pc Harper.

He was one of 10 men and boys aged between 13 and 30 arrested following the incident.

The remaining nine have been bailed until September 13.

A fundraising page set up by the Thames Valley Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, had raised more than £260,000.

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