A jury's decision to free the three travelers who killed PC Andrew Harper from murder is "two fingers up on the criminal justice system," said the chief of the police federation.
John Apter's comments come when a friend of the official's family claimed that the teenagers knew exactly what they were doing, adding that they were busy trying to escape at all costs.
Henry Long, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole hugged each other yesterday when they were rescued from the cop's murder by dragging him to the death behind their car – but were convicted of manslaughter.
The verdict left PC Harper's widow, Lissie, "immensely disappointed" and caused anger among his friends and colleagues.
The 28-year-old officer had tried to stop the thieves from stealing a quad, and his ankles were thrown off the trailing belt when the teenagers tried to escape in Sulhamstead, Berkshire last August.
He was dragged behind his Seat Toledo helplessly by his feet for over a mile when the car with the 19-year-old driver reached long speeds of up to 100 km / h and dodged vigorously to release the officer concerned.
Long and his two friends Bowers and Cole, both 18 years old, were all charged with murder but only convicted of manslaughter and hugged happily via a HMP Belmarsh video link in London.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, which represents more than 120,000 officers up to the rank of chief inspector in England and Wales, said: “What we see far too often are criminals who attack police officers or all the emergency services who let them with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
A jury's decision to free the three travelers who killed PC Andrew Harper, pictured on the left, from murder is "two fingers up in the criminal justice system," said John Apter, president of the Police Federation, pictured on the right
Police wanted photos of (left to right) driver Henry Long (19) and his passengers Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers (both 18)
PC Andrew Harper and his wife Lissie are celebrating their wedding at Ardington House in Oxfordshire in the summer of 2019
Lissie Harper (center, in white), the widow of PC Harper, yesterday in front of the Old Bailey in London. She said she was "immensely disappointed" that the three teenagers had been released from the murder, and described the crime as "barbaric."
How the jury was protected from fear of intimidation – and one was released after pronouncing "Bye Boys" to the accused
PC Andrew Harper's case has been followed by alleged attempts to "thwart" the investigation and fears the jury is noble.
Detectives quickly found the car that killed PC Harper in Berkshire on the Four Houses Corner travelers' website.
However, the investigation was hampered by family members and friends of the inmates, who were all believed to be closely related to the location.
Thames Valley Police Detective superintendent Stuart Blaik said: “It was decided very early to arrest all men on the site that night. Although we were frustrated by family and friends, we were able to work through it and find out exactly what happened and who was involved. & # 39;
Teenage fans – Henry Long, 19, Albert Bowers, and Jessie Cole, both 18, had gathered in the Old Bailey's public gallery when the case started in March. But as soon as it started, Justice Edis brought the trial to a standstill because of an alleged conspiracy to intimidate the jury.
An unidentified person in the public gallery overlooking the courtroom pointed to the jury.
Defense attorney Timothy Raggatt QC dismissed the incident as "hypersensitive".
In the absence of the jury, he said: “Under the circumstances, someone could point this out for all possible reasons. Take, for example, there seem to be many ladies in this dish. & # 39;
But Justice Edis ordered additional security measures to protect the jury. Without disclosing details, he said the police had received information "that an attempt by the defendants' staff to intimidate the jury was being considered."
The jury was given a private room, and anyone entering the public gallery was asked to prove their identity. A third measure was kept secret.
The original jury was released on the day the nation was banned.
When the case returned to retrial in June, social distancing was introduced in court to combat the risk of Covid-19, and security was further increased.
To be sworn in, the jury was named by number rather than by name. The uniformed police were in force during a jury visit to rural Berkshire.
Officers lined the narrow country lanes when the jury looked at the place where PC Harper was killed. A police drone buzzed above them as detectives started the battered old Seat Toledo of the accused as the jury continued.
With the end of the renewed trial within sight, fears about his integrity emerged on July 20.
An overly friendly judge was seen by a prison official who said "bye guys" to the defendants in the dock.
When Judge Edis was made aware of the incident, he said: “A strong motive must have forced her to behave as she did before this court under the surveillance of as many people. It was both open and covert at the time, which is remarkable behavior. & # 39;
The judge was dismissed just one day before counseling the remaining eleven men and women.
“You literally put two fingers in front of the criminal justice system.
“There has to be a deterrent, these are violent people. I support the increase, but the increase in conviction is worthless unless it is accompanied by a full review and revision of the sentencing guidelines.
“Right now it's almost the exception that people go to jail, that should be turned around. The exception should be that you don't go to jail. & # 39;
His comments come when family friend Andy Ledbury, who worked for PC Harper in a roofing company at the age of 18, also complained about the verdict.
He told BBC Radio Four today: “To say that I am shocked and disappointed would be an understatement.
For me it was never a question of whether it would be murder or homicide, it was a question of how many of them would be prosecuted for murder.
"The more evidence you hear, the clearer it is that they knew exactly what they were doing and that at all costs they were only concerned with their escape."
Despite the verdict, he made his view clear: “This was murder and will in no way alleviate the pain of what happened, it is about justice and for those who committed the crime.
“At the moment, it doesn't show much support for our police force who needs it now more than ever.
It can now be reported that the jury was given special protection by the police because detectives believed that employees of the accused intended to intimidate them.
PC Harper had only married four weeks before he was battered alive by the surface of Admoor Lane and the obstacles on the side.
Parts of his body, including his face, were destroyed, and the details of how the trial was opened were so terrible that his family took the unprecedented step of asking the media not to report them.
When his colleague discovered the body after falling off the noose, he was completely naked except for his socks.
A meandering trail of blood behind him marked the course of his body on the street. His parents Phil Harper and Debbie Adlam and his brother Sean joined his widow in court.
Long admitted homicide, but was acquitted of the murder. Bowers and Cole were convicted of manslaughter after the jury considered 12 hours and 22 minutes to decide.
Jurors who were visibly shocked by the details of the case were offered advice before the trial started.
All police officers involved in the discovery of his body were also advised to seek help in dealing with the trauma of the case.
When he was arrested at the Four Houses Corner in Ufton Nervet, Berkshire, Long claimed he was watching a Fast and Furious DVD at the time of the murder.
He complained that the police were wrongly targeting travelers and said, "I don't care," when he was charged.
Long, Bowers, and Cole spent most of their time chasing rabbits and hares with their staggering dogs, scratching their livelihoods through burglary and theft.
They discovered the Honda TRX500 Quad at Peter Wallis' home near Cock Lane in the village of Bradfield Southend on August 15 and returned at around 11:00 p.m. to steal it.
Everyone was wearing balaclavas and gloves, taped the car's license plate, and turned off the taillights.
The killers were armed with an ax, crowbars, and a piece of pipe to use against anyone who tried to stop them.
Mr. Wallis called the police and saw them take the bike and attach the handlebar with the noose to the back of the car.
Long drove off with Bowers in the passenger seat and Cole on the bike.
Albert Bowers (left) and Jessie Cole (center) leave the Reading Magistrates & # 39; Court on September 19, 2019
Albert Bowers arrives at Reading Magistrates & # 39; Court on September 19, 2019 to appear about the death of PC Harper
The Seat Toledo with tow rope and the police car in a similar position at the meeting point of the vehicles during the visit by the Old Bailey jury on site in Sulhamstead on July 1st
PC Harper was sitting in an unmarked BMW with PC Andrew Shaw and was supposed to finish his shift at 7 p.m.
The officers were on duty in the reading area that night and went back to their base in Abingdon when they heard about the incident on the radio and responded to the call.
It was a decision PC Harper was going to cost.
As they drove down Admoor Lane, they came face to face and the seat went the other way.
The travelers quickly realized that it was a police car, and Cole released the bike and tried to get to the seat as it circled around the police car to drive away.
PC Harper jumped out to stop Cole from getting in the car, but he managed to dive through the passenger side window.
As the car slipped away, PC Harper's feet became tangled. Fortunately, he had passed out almost immediately.
PC Shaw had no idea what had happened to his colleague and expected to find him higher up. But when he turned the alley, he found PC Harper's tattered and bloody stab vest lying on the street.
The court was told Long must have known he was dragging the officer, and with booming music and screaming friends he tried to free PC Harper by zigzagging down the alley.
When the officer fell off the car at the end of Ufton Lane, his body was a "bloody mess".
A policeman who saw the incident thought PC Harper's body was a deer carcass.
The stolen quad is pictured during the jury visit to Old Bailey on July 1, 2020 in Sulhamstead
This is when Henry Long, one of the teenagers who killed PC Andrew Harper, asks a policeman who arrests him for death: "Does it look like I committed a murder?"
The seat raced to the location of the traveler and caused other road users to drive into the edge to avoid a collision.
It was chased by a police helicopter and the travelers were arrested on site.
Long, Bowers, and Cole all admitted a conspiracy to steal a quad, and Long admitted homicide.
They insisted that they had no idea that PC Harper was trapped behind the car, but a macabre re-enactment of the mannequin showed that they must have known the officer was being dragged to his death.
During the Long trial, Bowers and Cole grinned and laughed as the jury was read details of PC Harper's terrible death.
It can now be reported that Long previously threatened to "ram" a police officer when he chatted with a police officer (PCSO).
In the July 2018 conversation, which was declared illegal during the trial, Long said: "You can't touch me now because I passed my driving test and if the police try to stop me, I will ram them."
Long and Bowers, both from Mortimer, Reading, and Cole from Bramley, Hampshire, each denied the murder and were acquitted.
You will be sentenced next Friday.
21-year-old Thomas King from Bramley previously admitted to conspiring to steal the quad.
. (tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) messages