PC Andrew Harper Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption PC Andrew Harper worked for Thames Valley Police

A police officer was killed in “truly shocking circumstances” when he was dragged for more than a mile by a car on a country road, a court heard.

PC Andrew Harper was “swung from side to side like a pendulum” after his ankles got caught in a strap trailing behind a vehicle driven by 19-year-old Henry Long in Berkshire in August 2019.

The Old Bailey heard his uniform was “ripped and stripped from his body”.

Mr Long and passengers Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18, deny murder.

The prosecution case was opened to a new jury after a trial, which started in March, could not be finished due to the coronavirus lockdown and some jurors being discharged because they needed to self-isolate.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said PC Harper, 28, from Wallingford, Oxfordshire, was left with the “most appalling of injuries… and he died there on the road” after he became entangled in the tow rope.

“It was a senseless killing of a young police officer in the line of duty; a young man who was doing no more than his job,” he told jurors.

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Henry Long and his passengers, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, (l-r) deny murder

Mr Laidlaw said the defendants had been “seeking to evade arrest and to escape from the police” after being caught in the act of stealing a quad bike.

The court heard PC Harper, who worked for Thames Valley Police’s roads policing unit, was due to finish his shift at 19:00 BST on 15 August but he and a colleague answered an emergency call for assistance.

Peter Wallis called police to report the theft of a quad bike from the drive outside his home in Bradfield Southend in Berkshire, jurors were told.

Mr Laidlaw said the call was “to the effect that masked men had stolen a new and valuable” Honda quad bike from the grounds of his house and had “made off in a car, towing the quad bike behind them”.

He said “despite it being well beyond the end of their shift” PC Harper and PC Andrew Shaw responded to the call.

“It was going beyond the call of duty, as it were, and it cost Andrew Harper his life,” Mr Laidlaw added.

Mr Long, from Mortimer, Reading, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but denies murder.

He, Mr Cole of Paices Hill near Reading, and Mr Bowers, of Moat Close, Bramley, have all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal a quad bike.

The, trial, expected to last five weeks, continues.


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