Lissie Harper tells Priti Patel: I won’t back down over law-change campaign

The widow of Pc Andrew Harper will be granted access to Government lawyers as part of her campaign to create new legislation in her husband’s memory.

Lissie Harper said she “will not back down” on her vision of creating Harper’s Law, meaning those who kill emergency workers due to a criminal act are jailed for life.

Her campaign was launched after three teenagers responsible for her 28-year-old husband’s death were handed determinate prison sentences for manslaughter.

Mrs Harper spent Monday afternoon in talks with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland QC to further harness their support for the law.

Speaking to the PA news agency after the summit, Mrs Harper, 29, said: “Our world now is very different but there are still attacks on emergency workers and unfortunately deaths, and that has only made me more determined to make a change.

“We spoke about creating a taskforce to get to what Harper’s Law will be and how we get there. We want to get it perfect, and speaking with the right people is what we need to do now and I feel positive following the meeting.

“I was very clear that although I am fully aware these things take time and we absolutely need to get it right, it also is something we need.

“This may take a year, it may take a couple of years, but I am certainly not going to be backing down into this not happening because this is too important.”

Pc Andrew Harper and his wife, Lissie
Pc Andrew Harper and his wife, Lissie (Thames Valley Police/PA)

She added: “My foot isn’t going to leave the pedal. Hopefully the discussions with the legal team will happen very soon… I will be keeping the pressure on, no doubt about that.

“We know it’s not going to be a quick thing, and I am under no illusions that there are other things going on.

“But why would I stop? Some people have said it may be difficult or it might take a long time. So what? Just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.”

Pc Harper had been married for just four weeks when he was caught in a tow strap attached to a getaway car and dragged to his death as he and a Thames Valley Police colleague responded to a late-night burglary in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, in August last year.

Getaway car driver Henry Long, 19, and his two passengers Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18, were cleared of murder and found guilty instead of manslaughter.

Long is set to appeal against his 16-year sentence, while Bowers and Cole are appealing against both their convictions and 13-year sentences.

In a separate move, following a referral by the Attorney General, Court of Appeal judges will also consider whether the jail terms were too lenient.

Pc Harper’s mother, Debbie Adlam, has also begun a campaign to change the sentencing guidelines, dubbed Andrew’s Law, calling for those who kill police officers to face a minimum of 20 years in prison.

Deborah Adlam, the mother of Pc Andrew Harper
Debbie Adlam, mother of Pc Andrew Harper (Jacob King/PA)

Mrs Harper previously sat down for talks with Mrs Patel and Mr Buckland in September, when she said the pair signalled their support for her campaign.

Monday’s meeting was their first since the death of Metropolitan Police Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was fatally shot as he prepared to search a handcuffed suspect in Croydon, someone described by Mrs Patel at the Tory party conference last month as representing “the very best of us”.

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