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January trial date for man charged over death of police officer

Newlywed Pc Andrew Harper died from multiple injuries as he responded to a report of a burglary.

Police officers gather to pay their respects at the scene near Ufton Lane where Andrew Harper died (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Police officers gather to pay their respects at the scene near Ufton Lane where Andrew Harper died (Andrew Matthews/PA)

By Henry Vaughan, PA

The man accused of murdering Pc Andrew Harper faces trial in January in front of a High Court judge.

The Thames Valley Police officer, 28, was killed last Thursday evening near the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire while investigating a burglary.

The newlywed died from multiple injuries after being dragged under a vehicle and was then possibly hit by a police car.

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Pc Andrew Harper was responding to a burglary report (Thames Valley Police/PA)

Jed Foster appeared at Reading Crown Court by video-link from Woodhill prison in Milton Keynes on Wednesday charged with Pc Harper’s murder and the theft of a quad bike from Paul Wallis.

He is yet to enter pleas to the charges, but on Tuesday his lawyer Rob Jacques said Foster “denies any involvement in the horrific murder of Pc Harper”.

Judge Paul Dugdale said on Wednesday: “I understand the issue is identity as far as Mr Foster is concerned.”

Foster, 20, whose friends and family members filled the public gallery, spoke to confirm his name, date of birth and that his nationality is “white British” during the hearing, which lasted around 30 minutes.

It was an incident that took place in Berkshire and it should be tried in Berkshire Judge Paul Dugdale

Pc Harper’s family looked on from seats in the jury box as Foster sat emotionless at a desk listening to proceedings.

The judge set a trial date for January 20 for the case, which is expected to last around three weeks.

“It will be a High Court judge case and will be tried at Reading Crown Court,” he said.

“It was an incident that took place in Berkshire and it should be tried in Berkshire.”

Foster was one of 10 men and boys aged between 13 and 30 from a nearby caravan park arrested after the death.

Only he has been charged, while the remaining nine suspects have been bailed until September 13.

Foster is next expected to appear in court on November 20 for a case management hearing.

PA

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