| 9.3°C Belfast

Police officer saw Andrew Harper’s body tumbling in the road, court told

Pc Andrew Harper was killed when he was dragged behind a car while responding to an emergency call in Berkshire.

Close

Pc Andrew Harper (Family Handout/PA)

Pc Andrew Harper (Family Handout/PA)

Pc Andrew Harper (Family Handout/PA)

A police officer called to the aftermath of the death of constable Andrew Harper saw his body “tumbling“ in the road, a court has heard.

The 28-year-old was killed when he was dragged behind a car while responding to an emergency call near the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire, in August last year.

Police Constable Andy Kemp told the Old Bailey that he was called to the area following the reported theft of a quad bike, and saw a Seat Toledo driving at speed near the A4.

He said: “It was fast, very fast.”

The dog handler added: “From the way the car came across the junction, it came out very, very quickly, and there was something that was dragging from behind, and it made me think that they had stolen an ATM, a cash machine from somewhere.”

When he saw the officer’s body in the road in Ufton Lane, he said: “It appeared to be tumbling.”

Police officer killed in Sulhamstead
An aerial view of the scene in Ufton Lane, near Sulhamstead, Berkshire, where Pc Andrew Harper died (Steve Parsons/PA)

The court heard that officers from Thames Valley and the Ministry of Defence Police went to the scene and tried to save Pc Harper.

In a statement read to the court by prosecutor Jonathan Polnay, Pc Nick Kluger, a Thames Valley firearms officer, described “an immense sense of dread and an urgency” when he heard that an officer was down.

As he and fellow officers used a defibrillator to try to save Pc Harper, he said: “I said something like ‘Stay with me, buddy, the ambulance will be here soon and they’ll sort you out’.”

He had a “feeling of elation” when he saw a paramedic arrive, but this quickly disappeared when he saw the expression on the emergency worker’s face, the court heard.

Paramedic Chris Darley said Pc Harper’s injuries were “incompatible with life”.

His statement read: “I felt it was unfair to continue with CPR after what Pc Harper had been through.”

Mr Darley declared life extinct at the scene at 11.45pm.

Henry Long, 18, from Mortimer, Reading, and two 17-year-olds, who cannot be named for legal reasons, all deny murdering the Thames Valley Police officer in August last year.

They all admit conspiring to steal a quad bike, and Long has admitted manslaughter, which the younger boys deny.

Police officer killed in Sulhamstead
Court artist sketch of Henry Long, 18, (left) sitting beside a dock officer at the Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Pc Harper was caught up in a crane strap that was dangling from the back of the Seat and dragged for more than a mile along country lanes.

He became dislodged and was left in the road while the three defendants drove to the Four Houses Corner Caravan site in Ufton Nervet.

Jurors were shown footage from a police helicopter showing the “very, very hot” Seat parked in one of the plots.

The court heard that when Long and one of the 17-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of murder they remained “quiet and calm”.

Pc Warren Mason found them in a caravan at the Four Houses Corner site in Ufton Nervet, fully dressed at around 12.50am.

Another man present was shirtless and it appeared he had been in bed, the jury was told.

Mr Polnay read the officer’s statement, which said: “Long and (the 17-year-old) remained very quiet and calm. Long and (the 17-year-old) stepped out of the caravan to talk to me.”

He went on: “I explained to them that a police officer had died and I was arresting them on suspicion of murder. Long and (the 17-year-old) remained calm and collected.”

The pair were arrested for a second time at 12.57am by Pc Simon Denton.

Jurors were shown footage from his body-worn video, in which Long can be heard saying: “Does it look like I’ve done a murder? It’s upsetting, he’s calling me a murderer.”

PA