THE Government has announced offenders who kill an emergency services worker while committing crime will be given mandatory life sentences.

The law change follows tireless campaigning by Lissie Harper, the widow of PC Andrew Harper.

PC Harper was killed in the line of duty while answering a late-night burglary call.

Harper’s Law is expected to become law early next year.

Mrs Harper said: “It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work. I know Andrew would be proud to see Harper’s Law reach this important milestone.

“Emergency services workers require extra protection.

Oxford Mail: Lissie Harper and her husband AndrewLissie Harper and her husband Andrew

“I know all too well how they are put at risk and into the depths of danger on a regular basis on behalf of society.

“That protection is what Harper’s Law will provide and I am delighted that it will soon become a reality.”

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 on August 15, 2019.

Henry Long, 19, was sentenced to 16 years and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers were handed 13 years in custody over the manslaughter.

Oxford Mail: Henry Long, Jessie Cole, Albert BowersHenry Long, Jessie Cole, Albert Bowers

Long, 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.

READ MORE: Sentences NOT changed for PC Harper killers after appeal 

The sentences prompted Mrs Harper to lobby the Government to better protect emergency services workers on the front line.

Announcing the intended law change, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We are going to pass into law mandatory life sentences for those who unlawfully kill an emergency worker in the course of their duty.

“I pay tribute to Lissie Harper’s remarkable campaign.

“This Government is on the side of victims and their families and we want our emergency services to know that we’ll always have their back.”

Mr Raab said the law will not be retrospective, meaning PC Harper’s killers cannot have their sentences extended.

The Court of Appeal previously rejected a bid by the Attorney General to increase their sentences.

Matthew Barber, police and crime commissioner for the Thames Valley, said: “The triumph of Lissie’s passionate campaign comes out of the tragedy of Andrew’s killing.

“His death is still keenly felt by Thames Valley Police and this change in legislation is a fitting tribute to him.

“It is right that the Government has backed the campaign for mandatory life sentences for those who unlawfully kill emergency workers in the course of their duty.

“As police and crime commissioner, I am well aware of the risks and dangers that our police officers face every day.

“The police will run towards danger to protect the public and they deserve our respect and protection in return.

“I am committed to doing what we can in Thames Valley to ensure the safety of our officers who put themselves at risk on our behalf.”


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