Here's why a petition has been launched to overturn the manslaughter charges on PC Andrew Harper's killers

Wednesday, 29th July 2020, 4:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th July 2020, 4:43 pm
(Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Drawing nearly a quarter of a million signatories, a petition is calling for the manslaughter conviction against the killers of PC Andrew Harper to be overturned.

18 year olds Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, and 19 year old Henry Long were convicted of manslaughter but cleared of murder at the Old Bailey last week.

Furious signees are now calling for a retrial, including PC Andrew Harper's widow, who has added her name to the petition and written to the Prime Minister.

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Here's everything you need to know:

What happened to Andrew Harper?

Newlywed PC Andrew Harper, 28, became entangled in a tow rope attached to their Seat Toledo as he tried to apprehend them.

Long drove off at “breakneck” speed, dragging the Thames Valley Police officer for more than a mile along country lanes before he was dislodged, having suffered horrific injuries.

The teenagers admitted plotting the theft and Long pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but each denied knowing that PC Harper was there.

All three of the accused were cleared of murder by an Old Bailey jury, which had deliberated for more than 12 hours, but Cole and Bowers were found guilty of manslaughter.

Their defence claimed the incident was a “freak event” that none of them could have planned or foreseen.

But the prosecution said at more than 6ft and weighing 14 stone, the defendants must have been aware PC Harper was being dragged to his death

What does the petition say?

The petition's page claims "the three killers laughed and joked with each other during the trial and when Long was charged he said he 'didn't give a ****.'"

At the time of writing, it has received nearly 248,000 signatures.

One of those is from Debbie Adlam, the mother of Harper, who says her son "went to work to serve us all.

"I am disgusted that he has been let down. When they crossed the junction on A4 there’s no way they did not know he was there being thrown against the pavements.

"Utterly and bitterly disgusted with the outcome," she added.