Attorney General says sentences of PC Harper's killers could be 'too lenient'
The Attorney General, Suella Braverman QC MP, has referred the sentences of Police Constable Andrew Harper’s killers to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme as she believes they should have been given longer prison terms.
Henry Long, 19, was jailed for 16 years and 18-year-olds Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole were each sentenced to 13 years in prison for the manslaughter of the Thames Valley Police officer.
PC Harper suffered fatal injuries when his ankles got caught in a strap trailing behind a vehicle driven by Henry Long on August 15, 2019.
The Attorney General can only ask the Court of Appeal to review a sentence under the ULS scheme if she considers that sentence to be unduly lenient. That means, for example, that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of reasonable sentences available.
Suella Braverman said: “This was a horrific crime which resulted in the death of a much-respected police officer while he was on-duty, protecting his community.
“Having personally considered the details of this shocking case, I have decided to refer the sentences of PC Andrew Harper’s killers to the Court of Appeal. Attacks made against emergency workers will not be tolerated and offenders should be punished with the greatest severity for such heinous crimes.”
Earlier this week Bowers and Cole this week lodged applications with the Court of Appeal seeking permission to challenge their convictions and their 13-year jail sentences.
PC Harper’s widow Lissie said: “This is great news and we thank the Attorney General for her swift decision. The sentences for Andrew’s killers did not match their heinous crime. It was not justice and it needs to be addressed. Police officers need to be properly protected by the judicial system. And there must be appropriate punishments for those who would kill police officers.
“We now await the outcome with interest and in the meantime we will continue to campaign for Harper’s Law – which is calling for those who kill emergency services workers to spend the rest of their lives in prison. I would also like to thank the public for their continued and unstinting support.”