Accused set up movies alibi knowing ‘perfectly well’ how Pc died, court told

A teenager has denied constructing a fake alibi around a Fast And Furious movie, knowing “perfectly well” he had just dragged Pc Andrew Harper to his death.

Henry Long, 19, had been attempting to avoid arrest for stealing a quad bike when Pc Harper got tangled in a tow rope attached to his Seat Toledo on the night of August 15 last year.

Long drove for more than a mile along country lanes at speeds of some 42mph before Pc Harper became dislodged, the Old Bailey has heard.

Police officer killed in Sulhamstead
Court artist sketch of (left to right) Henry Long, 19, Albert Bowers, 18, and Jessie Cole, 18, as they sit in the dock at the Old Bailey in London (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

The 28-year-old Thames Valley police officer died at the scene near the A4 in Berkshire.

Within hours, Long was arrested at Four Houses Corner caravan site, where the Seat was located by a police helicopter.

Giving evidence, Long said he had no idea that Pc Harper had been attached to his car.

He told jurors he felt “disgraceful”, had sleepless nights and thought about the effect on Pc Harper’s family.

But under cross-examination, Jonathan Laidlaw QC suggested Long knew how Pc Harper died and immediately set about making up a false alibi that he had been watching a Fast And Furious film with relatives at the travellers’ site.

Long insisted he had made the decision to lie during his first police interview because he was “scared”.

Police officer killed in Sulhamstead
Video screen grab of Henry Long’s Seat Toledo as it was located by a police helicopter at the Four Houses Caravan site (Thames Valley Police/PA)

Mr Laidlaw said: “Can I suggest that does not make any sense at all?

“I’m going to suggest you knew perfectly well the first thing they would do would be to go to Four Corners caravan site and ask your aunt and uncle if it was true.

“Immediately you got back to the site, shortly after Andrew Harper had died, you had begun to prepare a false alibi.”

Long denied this.

The prosecutor went on: “Of all things you were going to pretend you had watched, what was it you said? It was Fast And Furious.

“That was involving what? Illegal car chases and racing?”

The defendant replied: “That’s correct.”

Mr Laidlaw continued: “And you thought that was the appropriate lie to tell police in the circumstances?”

Tributes to Andrew Harper
Tributes left at the scene of Andrew Harper’s death (Andrew Parsons/PA)

Long repeated that he had been “scared”.

Mr Laidlaw said: “You knew perfectly well at the time you said that fake alibi how Pc Harper met his death.

“I’m going to suggest you were quickly hard at work on your return to put together the alibi to seek the support of your aunt and your cousin.

“There would not be much point in telling that lie unless they were going to support you.”

The lawyer added: “The truth is you were not thinking about anybody but yourself. You knew perfectly well you dragged Pc Harper to his death. You had set out to tough this out.”

Long replied: “That’s not correct.”

Mr Laidlaw went on: “The truth, I suggest, Mr Long, is you did not and don’t care at all really about Pc Harper and what has happened to him. The only person you care about is yourself.”

“Not true,” Long replied.

Long has admitted Pc Harper’s manslaughter and conspiracy to steal a quad bike, but denies murder.

His passengers Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, from near Reading, admit conspiracy to steal but deny murder.

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