BRAVE cop’s widow Lissie Harper says her husband’s killers’ “glee” as they cheated justice sparked her crusade for all 999 heroes.
Lissie, 29, was put through a nightmare ordeal as three thugs hugged each other and cheered as they were cleared of murdering PC Andrew Harper.
And she suffered further torment as the traveller trio were handed soft sentences which could see them walk free in as little as eight years.
The grieving newlywed was left in shock by the Old Bailey court verdict – then sickened by the joy of killer thieves Henry Long, 19, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18.
But she told the first time today how she instantly steeled herself to avenge the outrage.
And she channelled her pain into determination to stop more feral crooks getting away with murder.
Artist Lissie – married to PC Harper for just four weeks before Andrew's death a year ago – is spearheading a drive to punish the killers of all 999 workers with life jail terms.
She spoke of her determination yesterday while issuing an impassioned plea for a prompt meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel to hear her calls for "Harper’s Law".
Describing the dramatic moment her quest began, Lissie, 29, told The Sun yesterday: “I was on the edge of my seat at the Old Bailey waiting for the juror to give the answer.
“Then a feeling of total shock and numbness overwhelmed me when I heard the words ‘not guilty’ – it wasn’t what I had been hoping for or expecting.
“I held back the urge to shout out as their families began cheering.
“Instantly I just thought – no – this system is broken. This is so wrong – a clear miscartiage of justice.
“Then I saw the defendants’ glee that – even though they were going to prison – they knew they had got away with something, and so did everyone else.
“That initial pain and anger sparked the feeling that I had to do something. I couldn’t let this stand.
“All I want now is for something good to come from something horrific – and for frontline workers like Andrew to have the protection of a deterrent.”
KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY
PC Harper, 28, was dragged to his death behind the gang’s getaway car as they escaped with a £10,000 Honda quad bike from a raid at Bradfield Southend, near Reading, Berks.
The helpless cop caught his foot in a tow rope and was dragged for more than a mile along a country lane at speeds of up to 70 mph while driver Long swerved violently.
His battered body was so mutilated it was mistaken for a deer carcass by horrified onlookers.
The trio were all found not guilty of murder, despite evidence that the car was trying to shake off the dying cop.
And at their trial they tormented grieving Lissie – who attended every day – by giggling as his death was described and clowning in front of court photographers.
Bowers even fell asleep as the prosecutor showed jurors video footage of the Thames Valley Police officer being dragged to his death.
Pc Harper’s death has spotlighted daily difficulties faced by officers policing travellers communities.
And Lissie told how the tragedy had proved even harder to bear because her 6ft 5ins-tall husband had always prided himself on his tolerance in the face of provocation.
The petite blonde said: “Andrew was always a calm presence and would never allow himself to be wound up in difficult situations.
“He prided himself on being professional and had to cope with a lot during the years he spent with the police.
“My grief now is a constant ongoing thing and it always will be but having something to focus like the campaign is keeping me going now.
“I’m not particularly spiritual but know that would have been important to Andrew and feel encouraged by him.
“I know he would want me to be the one to get this law through.
“Like many other emergency workers, he chose a job – and accepted the risks – where the main goal was to protect people.
“And after suffering as much as I have following his death, I think people who accept these risks deserve more protection from the law.
“Hardened habitual criminals like the three who killed Andrew should know they face a life sentence if they kill any emergency services worker while committing a crime.
“The support I’ve received from ordinary members of the public outraged by Andrew’s death has humbled and astonished me and I won’t let these people down.
“I want to meet the Home Secretary as soon as possible to discuss a way forward because it seems to me that the overwhelming majority of people believe the legal process is inadequate.
“Unless a clear deterrent, this will happen again and again and the criminals will carry on laughing at the law.”
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