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Lissie Harper: I know slain police officer husband will be proud of law change

Lissie Harper: I know slain police officer husband will be proud of law change
The 31-year-old widow has successfully campaigned to introduce mandatory life sentences for people who kill emergency service workers.

The widow of slain police officer Andrew Harper said she believes he is “smiling down at me with pride and love” after her campaign in his memory became law.

Lissie ハーパー, 31, was compelled to lobby the 政府 after being “outraged” by the prison sentences handed to the three teenagers responsible for killing her husband while he responded to a burglary, hours after he was due to clock off and begin his honeymoon.

She told the PA news agency it is important to mark the law change as a positive, but said she feels she will “never be able to move on” from her husband’s death.

Speaking as she prepared to address MP inside the House of Commons on Tuesday, as Harper’s came into effect, Mrs Harper said: “I will never be rid of the hollowness that the burden of grief inflicts, but I know without hesitation that my husband Andrew would be immensely proud of this achievement in his name.

“Andrew believed in fairness and peace – he had the strongest moral compass of anyone I ever met and that is why I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is smiling down at me with pride and love as Harper’s Law, his legacy, is now achieved.”

Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper, has campaigned to change the law in her husband’s name (ジョナサンブレイディ/ PA)
Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper, has campaigned to change the law in her husband’s name (ジョナサンブレイディ/ PA)

Pc Harper, 28, died from his injuries when he was caught in a strap attached to the back of a car and dragged down a winding country road as the trio fled the scene of a quad bike theft in Sulhamstead, バークシャー, on the night of August 15 2019.

ヘンリーロング, 19, 宣告された 16 years and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers were handed 13 years in custody over the manslaughter of the Thames Valley Police traffic officer.

長さ, the leader of the group, admitted manslaughter, while passengers Cole and Bowers were convicted of manslaughter after a trial at the Old Bailey.

All three were cleared of murder by the jury.

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

Mrs Harper said: “It’s just been a hell of a journey and has taken everything I could give to it.

“I’m never going to be able to move on. A lot of people say, '上手, maybe you can move on now’. But you don’t.

“You’ll never move on. But I can move forward and build some kind of life.”

Mrs Harper’s quest to change the law came “in the midst of grief and incomprehensible loss”, and was backed by the likes of Home Secretary プリティ・パテル and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab.

The law will not be retrospective, meaning Pc Harper’s killers cannot have their sentences extended.

The move extends mandatory life sentences to anyone who commits the manslaughter of an emergency worker on duty, including police, prison officers, 消防士と救急医療. Judges determine the minimum term someone handed a life sentence serves before they are deemed eligible for release.

しかしながら, there is scope for judges to deviate from this if they feel there are “truly exceptional circumstances”.

Mrs Harper said: “Almost three years ago my husband was robbed of his life and we were both robbed of our future together.

“Nothing will ever change that. This law will not change the outcome for his killers.

Sgt Andy Fiddler supports Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper, as she meets Boris Johnson (Victoria Jones/PA)
Sgt Andy Fiddler supports Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper, as she meets Boris Johnson (Victoria Jones/PA)

“But no longer will a family have to endure the pain of injustice in court as I did those many months ago – and that is a significantly powerful outcome.”

彼女は付け加えた: “I know that many, many people will feel vindication at actually being able to believe in some legislation written in our history books.

“Throughout this journey I have met so many incredible people, fellow widows and widowers who know this unique pain I feel, as well as too many others who have lost loved ones in unspeakable ways and still have not seen any justice.

“I hope that this will help not only me but all of those who have experienced these cruel atrocities, we may never move on but we can try to move forward.”

Mrs Harper told the PA news agency this year that she is ready to “find happiness again” and will effectively retire from public life once the law change comes into effect.

Harper’s Law is among the new measures in the Police, 犯罪, Sentencing and Courts Act, which also includes making rare whole-life orders the starting point for premeditated child murder.