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Accused denies role in ‘horrific murder’ of Pc Andrew Harper

Jed Foster was remanded in custody when he appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court.

Jed Foster leaves Reading Magistrates’ Court (Steve Parsons/PA)
Jed Foster leaves Reading Magistrates’ Court (Steve Parsons/PA)

By Henry Vaughan, PA

A man accused of killing a police officer while he investigated a burglary has denied any involvement in his “horrific murder”.

Jed Foster, 20, is charged over the death of 28-year-old newlywed Pc Andrew Harper on Thursday evening in the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire.

The Thames Valley Police constable died from multiple injuries after being dragged under a vehicle.

Foster appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday charged with his murder and theft of a quad bike from Peter Wallis.

Members of Pc Harper’s family watched from the packed public gallery as Foster stood in the dock wearing a grey prison-issue tracksuit.

He stood, supported by his own family and friends, to confirm his name, date of birth and address during a hearing which lasted around three minutes.

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The family of Pc Andrew Harper arrive at Reading Magistrates’ Court (Julia Saqui/PA)

Foster, from Pingewood in Burghfield, near Reading, was not asked to enter pleas to the charges and District Judge Davinder Lachhar remanded him in custody until Wednesday, when he will appear at Reading Crown Court.

His lawyer, Rob Jacques, said: “On behalf of him and his family I want to say three things. He denies any involvement in the horrific murder of Pc Harper.

“We urge the police to follow all lines of inquiry and for the public to come forward and co-operate.”

Foster was handcuffed before he left the dock, while there was a heavy police presence at court.

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Jo, the mother of Jed Foster, with his stepfather (name not given) outside Reading Magistrates’ Court (Steve Parsons/PA)

Speaking outside court, standing next to Foster’s mother, Jo, who was clutching a teddy bear, Mr Jacques gave a statement to reporters.

“He denies any involvement in the murder of Pc Harper,” he said.

“He and I and the family urge the police to follow every single inquiry to establish who did, who was responsible, so that justice is delivered for Pc Harper.

“It’s an extremely difficult investigation and we urge any members of the public who have information to co-operate with the police, no matter how difficult that is.”

Foster was charged on Monday evening after investigators at Thames Valley Police were granted an extra 24 hours to question 10 suspects, with the remaining nine bailed until September 13.

All 10 suspects were arrested within an hour of the incident at a nearby caravan park.

The youngest was just 13 years old, while the oldest was 30.

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Pc Andrew Harper and his wife Lissie (Thames Valley Police/PA)

On Monday evening, the victim’s widow, Lissie Harper, paid tribute to her husband, describing him as “the kindest, loveliest, most selfless” person.

She wrote: “There is not enough paper in the world to even begin to write a tribute for you, but no-one deserves it more.”

People, including families with small children, continued to leave floral tributes at the scene on Tuesday.

Members of the Armed Forces and two armed police officers, one of whom appeared emotional as he placed a bunch of flowers, were among those seen paying their respects.

PA

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