PC Andrew Harper's widow Lissie to meet Priti Patel

  • Published
Lissie HarperImage source, Jason Bye
Image caption,
Lissie Harper said the meeting with the Home Office was "urgent"

The widow of PC Andrew Harper, who was killed in the line of duty, is set to meet Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Lissie Harper, 29, has set up the meeting as part of a campaign for those convicted of killing emergency service workers to be jailed for life.

PC Harper, 28, suffered catastrophic injuries when he was dragged behind a car used by thieves in Berkshire.

Mrs Patel said she would work with PC Harper's colleagues and family to "find a way if we want to change laws".

She said: "My priority is to listen to Lissie Harper, spend some time with her... so we can be responsive from government."

The government said it is looking to meet Mrs Harper at the "earliest opportunity", but a date has not yet been set.

Plans for the meeting come after it was announced the Court of Appeal would hear an application on 28 October by Attorney General Suella Braverman to review the sentences given to PC Andrew Harper's killers under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

Image caption,
PC Andrew Harper had been married just four weeks before he was killed

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, the most senior judge in England and Wales, will preside over the hearing to consider whether the sentences handed down to the trio were not long enough.

PC Harper's killers had been accused of murder but were convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

A decision is yet to be made by the court as to when it will hear applications lodged last week by Bowers and Cole for permission to appeal against their manslaughter convictions and their sentences.

Mrs Harper has raised 500,000 signatures as part of her campaign.

The specific details of the law have not yet been set out, but the campaigners have confirmed it would only apply to the deaths of emergency workers in the line of duty.

"We are delighted that the Home Office have been in touch to arrange the important meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel. This is vital and it's urgent," she said in a statement.

Image source, Thames Valley Police
Image caption,
Jessie Cole, Henry Long and Albert Bowers (L-R) were convicted of killing PC Harper

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, she said: "Our emergency service workers go out and do their jobs putting themselves at risk.

"I think if emergency workers are going to a situation where somebody has committed a crime and as a result of that situation they lose their life, then they [the perpetrators] need to be suitably dealt with and that's just not happening at the moment.

"Ultimately we want a life sentence. We want something that reflects taking someone's life, so that's something we want to talk to the home secretary about and get to the bottom of it and see what we can actually do."

She said she did not believe emergency workers are "more important", but this new law would be directed at them because of the nature of their work.

"These people spend their days dealing with crime and with dangerous situations and they're putting themselves in danger to protect the public so I think if anybody needs that sort of protection, it's them," she added.

Image source, FamilyHandout
Image caption,
Lissie Harper has vowed to "fight for a change in the law in memory of her late husband"

The home secretary is also due to meet separately with Debbie Adlam, PC Harper's mother, who has launched a separate campaign named "Andrew's Law" calling for killers of emergency service workers to serve at least 20 years in jail.

Ms Adlam said: "I'm looking forward to sharing our thoughts on a possible solution to deter people whilst they are committing a crime from seriously injuring or killing blue light officers."

The maximum sentence a judge can impose for manslaughter is life imprisonment but they must specify a minimum term to be served.