Pc Andrew Harper killed in ‘truly shocking circumstances’, court told

PC Andrew Harper and wife

Police officer Andrew Harper was dragged for more than a mile along a road and killed in "truly shocking circumstances", a court has heard.

Prosecutor Brian Altman QC told the Old Bailey on Monday that the alleged murder of the 28-year-old constable was "a completely senseless killing".

Pc Harper died from multiple injuries when he was pulled along behind a car after responding to the reported theft of a quad bike from a home near the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire.

24 PHOTOS
Pc Andrew Harper killed in ‘truly shocking circumstances’
See Gallery
Pc Andrew Harper killed in ‘truly shocking circumstances’
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: The helmet of PC Andrew Harper rests on his coffin during his funeral service at Christ Church Cathedral on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Steve Parsons - Pool/Getty Images)
PC Andrew Harper and wife
Jury selection begins in Pc Andrew Harper murder trial
Pc Andrew Harper killed in ‘truly shocking circumstances’, court told
PC Andrew Harper: Teenager pleads guilty to killing police officer
Teenager Henry Long pleads guilty to killing Pc Andrew Harper but denies murder
PA REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2019 File photo dated 20/08/19 of a police officer paying his respects at the scene near Ufton Lane, Sulhamstead, Berkshire, where Thames Valley Police officer Pc Andrew Harper, 28, died.
A dedication to PC Andrew Harper on a motorbike as thousands of motorcyclists take part in a 'ride of respect' in Oxfordshire in memory of PC Andrew Harper, who was killed whilst on duty in August. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: The police insignia on the coffin at the funeral of PC Andrew Harper at Christ Church Cathedral on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Ben Birchall - Pool/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Pallbearers carry the coffin of PC Andrew Harper during his funeral at Christ Church Cathedral on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Ben Birchall - Pool/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Pallbearers carry the coffin of PC Andrew Harper during his funeral at Christ Church Cathedral on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Ben Birchall - Pool/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: The coffin at the funeral of PC Andrew Harper at Christ Church Cathedral on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Ben Birchall - Pool/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: The guard of honour bow beside the hearse containing the coffin of PC Andrew Harper as the cortege leaves the quadrangle of Christ Church Cathedral on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Ben Birchall - Pool/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: The coffin of PC Andrew Harper is carried during his funeral at Christ Church Cathedral on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Ben Birchall - Pool/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: The guard of honour bow at the funeral of PC Andrew Harper at Christ Church Cathedral on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Ben Birchall - Pool/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Thames Valley Police Constable Jordan Johnstone pays tribute to his friend PC Andrew Harper during the funeral service at Christ Church Cathedral on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Steve Parsons - Pool/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: The helmet of PC Andrew Harper is carried out during his funeral service at Christ Church Cathedral on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Steve Parsons - Pool/Getty Images)
Sean Harper, the brother of PC Andrew Harper, leaves a symbol of his life during his funeral service at Christ Church Cathedral in St Aldate's, Oxford. Thames Valley Police officer Pc Harper died from multiple injuries after being dragged under a van while responding to reports of a burglary. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Police Officer stands guard outside of Christ Church Cathedral during the funeral of Police Constable Andrew Harper on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Members of the public line the High Street in Oxford to pay their respects as the funeral cortege for PC Andrew Harper, the Thames Valley Police officer who died from multiple injuries after being dragged under a van while responding to reports of a burglary, makes its way to Christ Church Cathedral in St Aldate's, Oxford. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Mounted police lead a funeral procession to Oxford's Christ Church Cathedral ahead of a service for PC Harper on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: A police officer blows her nose as the funeral procession makes its way to Oxford's Christ Church Cathedral ahead of a service for PC Harper on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Police Officers line the street for the funeral of Police Constable Andrew Harper out of Christ Church Cathedral on October 14, 2019 in Oxford, England. Police Constable Andrew Harper was killed whilst he responded to reported burglary on August 15 this year. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
A picture PC Andrew Harper stuck to a Honda Goldwing motorbike as thousands of motorcyclists take part in a 'ride of respect' in Oxfordshire in memory of PC Andrew Harper, who was killed whilst on duty in August.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Henry Long, 18, from Mortimer, Reading, and two 17-year-olds, who cannot be named for legal reasons, all deny murdering the Thames Valley Police officer in August last year.

Mr Altman told jurors: "Late at night, on Thursday August 15 of last year, in Berkshire, 28-year-old Andrew Harper, a serving police constable of Thames Valley Police, was killed in truly shocking circumstances.

"With his ankles caught in a strap that was trailing behind a car being driven at speed along a country lane, he was dragged for over a mile along the road surface, swung from side to side like a pendulum in an effort to dislodge him, losing items of his police uniform along the way, with the rest of his uniform being quite literally ripped and stripped from his body.

"When, at last, he became disentangled, he was left with the most awful injuries, from which he died there on the road, surrounded by colleagues who tried in vain to save him."

Mr Harper, left wearing only his socks and boots, suffered injuries that were unsurvivable, the court heard.

The jury was told: "This was a completely senseless killing of a young police officer in the line of duty."

Long has admitted manslaughter, which the younger boys deny, and all three have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal a quad bike.

PC Andrew Harper and wife

Several members of Pc Harper's family were in court as the prosecution case opened.

Pc Harper, known as "Harps" to his colleagues, was part of Thames Valley's Roads Policing Unit, and had been due to work a 10am to 7pm shift that day.

He was still on duty with crew mate Pc Andrew Shaw at 11.17pm, and they were driving in an unmarked police BMW fitted with emergency lights.

The pair, who were both wearing uniform, answered the call to the reported theft of the quad bike although it was past the end of their shift.

Mr Altman said: "Despite it being well beyond the end of their shift, because they were close and thought they could help, they responded to the call. It was a decision that was to cost Andrew Harper his life."

Prosecutors claim that the three defendants had planned the theft, visiting the home of owner Peter Wallis earlier that day and taking steps to avoid being caught by police.

Mr Altman said: "It is perfectly clear that all three had thought about and carefully planned this criminal enterprise. There was no point going to all this effort to steal a brand new, valuable quad bike only to be caught.

"They had clearly reckoned with the risk they might be stopped by the police. Not only did they wear gloves and disguise themselves with masks, but also they had disconnected all the rear light clusters to the car – brake, side and indicator lights – so that in any pursuit along dark country lanes they could disappear into the night, without trace, as had been their plan."

The court heard that the officers were driving along a country lane, Lambdens Hill, on their way to the call when they met a Seat Toledo, driven by Long, coming the other way.

One of the 17-year-olds was in the passenger seat, and the other was riding the quad bike which was being towed behind the car, attached to the boot lid hinge with a crane strap that formed a loop.

As the cars met, the teenager on the quad bike dismounted, disconnected the strap from the bike and tried unsuccessfully to get into the passenger door of the Seat, as Long began to drive off.

Pc Shaw turned the BMW's emergency lights on, and the teenager ran to jump through the back passenger window of the Seat.

As Pc Harper tried to stop him, the officer's feet were encircled in the crane strap, and he was dragged along as Long drove off.

The court heard that Long drove at an average speed of 42.5mph, leaving a snaking trail of tyre marks, blood and clothing as he swerved across the country lane.

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS