PC HARPER'S widow shares her heartbreak on the first anniversary of his death as she reveals how she sat next to his closed coffin and how the couple were planning their first baby.
A year ago to the day Lissie Harper's husband of just four weeks was killed by three teens driving a speeding getaway car, dragging him for more than a mile until his body was so battered it was no longer recognisable.The pair were newlyweds who had been childhood sweetheartsCredit: PA:Press AssociationWidow Lissie, 28, PC Harper’s wife for just four weeks, said she has 'screamed and cried every day' since the killingCredit: PA:Press Association
Now, the grieving widow has opened up about her anguish in losing her husband and childhood sweetheart, a man she remembers as "funny, goofy, kind-natured and nurturing".
"In killing Andrew, a good, hardworking, honest, loving man, they have taken a life that was so precious and subjected me to a life sentence without him," she told the Mail.
...They have taken a life that was so precious and subjected me to a life sentence without him.
Lissie, now 29, and Andrew, 28, had been married for just four weeks.
But the two had grown up together, were childhood sweethearts and were planning for a baby.
His loss is a pain Lissie describes as "crippling".
"Andrew and I grew up together so, losing him, I feel I’ve lost a whole part of myself," she explains.
"It’s crippling. We had a honeymoon booked in the Maldives in September, which I had to cancel, and were planning on trying for a baby when we got back.
"Andrew would have been a great dad and having a family with him is one of the many things his killers have taken from me."
Andrew would have been a great dad and having a family with him is one of the many things his killers have taken from me.
The grieving widow recalled the moment she received the news her husband had been killed.
An officer arrived at her door and told her Andrew had been in a road traffic collision and had died.
She had spoken to him just hours before.
The news seemed unreal and impossible to believe.PC Andrew Harper died after being dragged by a car driven by Henry LongCredit: PA:Press AssociationLissie and Andrew were married last year - just four weeks before he diedCredit: PA:Press Association
DRAGGED TO HIS DEATH
On the night of August 15 last year, The Thames Valley Police officer was dragged to his death while in the process of apprehending the teen gang during a botched robbery near Reading, Berks.
Three teenagers were convicted of manslaughter over his death after the jury deliberated for almost two days.
Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, received 13-year terms but could be out in eight.
Henry Long, 19, was caged for 16 years for driving the car which dragged the newlywed cop to his death.
The court heard a car driven by Long at "breakneck speed" swung PC Andrew Harper "like a pendulum" along a country lane.
They will be able to get on with their lives — a privilege they have taken away from Andrew.
The composed widow responds to the news of her husband's killers, noting how it won’t be long before they’re out.
"They will be able to get on with their lives — a privilege they have taken away from Andrew," she says.
The 28-year-old says she has "no doubt" that when her husband's killers are released they will go back to a life of committing crimes.
Tragically, Lissie feels she has never been able to say a proper goodbye as Andrew's body was so badly mutilated that one witness even mistook it for a deer.
Instead, Lissie sat beside his closed coffin in the chapel as she reassured him that she loved him and that everything would be OK, and one day they would be together again.
The officer's wedding ring was never found and so now Lissie wears a heart charm on a gold bracelet engraved with ‘I Love you Lissie’ in his handwriting which was copied from the notes he wrote for his wedding speech, delivered just a month before he died.PC Andrew Harper's grieving widow Lissie has launched a campaign in his nameCredit: CollectShe made an emotional statement outside court after the trio were found guiltyCredit: PA:Press Association
Since his death, Lissie has said she has “screamed and cried every day” since the killing.
Last week she launched her own Andrew's Law campaign for full-life prison terms for those who kill emergency services workers, including police, fire or emergency medical workers.
She said: "I pledge to my late husband to never stop until I have made the difference that this country clearly needs.
"I vow to stand strong and firm with so many other honourable people in our country to make the changes that we clearly know to be justified."
Her cause is being backed by the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents thousands of officers up to the rank of chief inspector.
In sentencing, the judge said nothing he can do can “restore Andrew Harper to his loving wife or family", adding: "His devastating loss in terrible circumstances will follow his family for ever.”
Describing the killers as "young, unintelligent but professional criminals", he added none of them had "shown anything resembling remorse".
The soft sentences dished out to Long, Bowers and Cole were met with fury by social media users.
Last night 320,000 people had signed a petition calling for the trial verdict to be overturned.
Attorney General Suella Braverman will now look into whether the jail time handed down was too lenient after a request to review the case.
However, she has no power to order a retrial, and prosecutors would either need new and compelling evidence to apply for the acquittals to be quashed, or there would need to be proven interference with the jury.Henry Long, 19, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, have all been jailedCredit: PA:Press AssociationAlbert Bowers (left) and Jessie Cole (right) were pictured smirking as they arrived at court after being arrested over PC Harper's killingAlbert Bowers jokes at court in handcuffsHenry Long, 19, was driving the car that dragged PC Harper to his deathPC Harper was probing the theft of a £10,000 quad bike when he became entangled in a tow strap behind a Seat Toledo (pictured)PC Harper had worked four hours over his shift when he answered the call that would lead to his deathLissie has vowed to campaign for Andrew's LawThe grieving widow announced her pledge to emergency workers
Widow of PC Andrew Harper ‘immensely disappointed' at manslaughter verdict given to three teen killers