Pc Harper has created own legacy, says mother as colleagues remember officer

Jess Glass, PA
·3 min read

The mother of Pc Andrew Harper has said her son had created his own legacy ahead of the first anniversary of his death.

On August 15 last year, the 28-year-old officer was dragged to his death after he was caught in a crane strap as he tried to stop three thieves fleeing after they stole a quad bike in Stanford Dingley, Berkshire.

Pc Harper’s family and fellow Thames Valley Police officers gathered on Friday for a series of services and a minute of silence.

His mother Debbie Adlam attended a memorial in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, to mark the anniversary, which falls on Saturday.

She told the PA news agency: “It was really emotional, acknowledging the year is here tomorrow.

“I found it quite difficult to be honest, more difficult than I expected.”

Mrs Adlam thanked the public for their support and said her son had created a legacy for himself by being widely loved.

Deborah Adlam, the mother of Pc Andrew Harper
Debbie Adlam, the mother of Pc Andrew Harper (Jacob King/PA)

She said: “The legacy is already there for Andrew because he’s got so many people supporting him, so many people are sad for what’s happened.

“The personal sense of grief that everybody has isn’t just sympathy, they really do feel it.

“I think Andrew has created his own legacy in some ways because of the person that he was, the way he lived and the way people have reacted to it.”

Asked what she hopes for next year’s anniversary, she said: “Probably just the fact that they do remember him. If they remember him, they’ll remember him with the love that they’ve got now.”

Three teenagers, Henry Long, 19, and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, were recently sentenced.

Pc Andrew Harper
Pc Andrew Harper (Family Handout/Thames Valley Police/PA)

Long, of College Piece in Mortimer, was sentenced to 16 years, while Cole, from Paices Hill, Aldermaston, Reading, and Bowers, of Windmill Corner, Mortimer Common, Reading, were each handed 13-year terms.

Pc Harper’s family have criticised the sentences and the reductions given due to the defendants’ ages.

Mrs Adlam began a campaign to change the sentencing guidelines, dubbed Andrew’s Law, calling for those who kill police officers to face a minimum of 20 years in prison.

She continued: “The thought of it all at the moment is a bit too much to think about, but the reality is that we want to make a change for the sentencing guidelines.

“That’s really important to us for Andrew’s sake and for anybody that comes along the line, sadly, next.”

A floral tribute which was laid during a memorial service for Pc Andrew Harper at Newbury police station to mark the first anniversary of his death
A floral tribute which was laid during a memorial service for Pc Andrew Harper at Newbury police station to mark the first anniversary of his death (Steve Parsons/PA)

The Attorney General’s office has been asked to consider if the jail terms handed to Pc Harper’s killers are too lenient.

Mrs Adlam said the family expects an initial response after August 28.

At two memorials at Newbury police station, Berkshire, Inspector Al Hawkett led the tributes.

He told the gathered officers: “Andrew was a brave young police officer, killed whilst doing the job that he loved.”

He added: “Andrew’s tragic death is something that will stay with all of us forever.”

The senior officer later read out a poem written by Pc Harper’s widow Lissie, before he placed a wreath at the base of a half-mast flag outside the station.

In the poem, Mrs Harper described her husband as “kind and strong without venom or greed” and said she was lucky to be his wife.

It continued: “They will remember you now, so honest and true.

“King among men, forever dressed in blue.

“You’re a hero now my boy don’t you see.

“The truth is my love, you always were to me, Lissie.”