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STATEMENT: PC Harper trial - sentencing

Statement from the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, following sentencing of the trial.

One week ago Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, were convicted for the manslaughter of PC Andrew Harper. Today, Long has been sentenced to 24 years in prison, mitigated to 16 years due to his age and his plea. , Bowers and Cole each to 20 years in prison mitigated to 13 years due to their age. They will not be eligible for release under licence until they have served two-thirds of their sentence.

Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: "Today at the Central Criminal Court in London, sentences were bestowed upon the three men who have been convicted of the manslaughter of PC Harper.

“It is little compensation to the family of Andrew and I know they were hoping for a different outcome to the trial than this. The tragic loss of Andrew will always remain with them as they continue to deal with what has happened.

“No outcome from today was going to give us any sense of triumph however manslaughter is a very serious crime and I hope that those convicted understand the gravity of what transpired on that night last August.

“I know that in recent days many have raised the prospect of a retrial, but I am not aware of any legal grounds on which such a move would be justified. However reluctantly, we must respect the verdict of the jury who heard the case in full.

“In passing his sentence the comments of Mr Justice Edis clearly condemned the dreadful killing of PC Harper and their reckless disregard for the law, the police and the lives of anyone who got in their way. Given the verdict provided by the jury and the sentencing guidelines available, I believe the judge has handed out significant custodial sentences and I hope that all three of the men will end up serving their full sentence in prison.  

“This was an extremely complex case and I once again would like to thank Thames Valley Police colleagues who have tirelessly worked to gather evidence to help with these convictions.

“This incident shows the bravery and valour that our police officers demonstrate on a daily basis to keep the public safe. We will remember Andrew’s passionate and dedicated commitment to his job rather than the terrible way his life was ended; he was a testament to our police force.”

The jury had deliberated for more than 12 hours before delivering a verdict of manslaughter last week.

The three men had all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal a quadbike, along with another man, Thomas King, aged 21 who was not directly involved in the incident which led to PC Harper’s death. They each received prison sentences for this offence, to be served concurrently and King was sentenced to 2 years in prison for conspiracy to steal.