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Man, 20, charged with murder of Pc Andrew Harper

Charles Hymas
Pc Andrew Harper and his wife Lissie. The couple had been due to go on honeymoon. - PA

A 20-year-old man will appear in court on Tuesday accused of murdering Pc Andrew Harper in Berkshire.

Newlywed Pc Harper was responding to reports of a burglary last Thursday night when he was hit and dragged under vehicle in Sulhamstead, West Berkshire. He died of multiple injuries.

Ten males aged between 13 and 30 were arrested on suspicion of murder within an hour of the incident at the Four Houses Corner caravan park.

Giving an update on the investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said a 20-year-old man has been charged with murder and theft of a quad bike. Jed Foster, from Reading, will appear at Reading Magistrates Court on Tuesday, said the CPS 

Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: “We will offer to meet with Pc Harper’s family to explain the basis of the decision we have made following a lengthy review of the evidence available."

Thames Valley Police were on Monday  granted permission to further detain the nine other males in relation to the death of Pc Harper. But the men were released on bail on Monday night. 

Pc Andrew Harper's wife Lissie last night released a tribute to him, calling him "the kindest, loveliest, most selfless person" and adding: "My darling boy I do not know how I will be able to survive without you.

"I want to be angry that your job took you away from us but I know you loved it and always wanted to keep everyone safe, especially me. You went the extra mile whenever you could and genuinely cared for everyone.

Pc Harper was due to go on honeymoon next week with his new wife, Lissie, 28, just four weeks after they married.

A police officer lays flowers at the scene where Pc Harper was murdered in Berkshire Credit: Rex 

 Colleagues of Pc Harper, 28, also today paid an emotional tribute to the police officer at the scene where  he was killed on Thursday night.

Officers from Thames Valley Police consoled each other at the scene, with some mourners weeping as they honoured the hero Pc.

Dozens of floral tributes and messages from wellwishers have been placed at the junction where the brave PC was dragged to his death by a vehicle on Thursday night.

One message read: "Harps, I am truly gutted. A great cop, a great man, a great friend. There will always be a part of my heart missing now. RIP mate."

On Monday Pc Gareth Phillips who is facing "life-changing injuries" after he was run over by a suspected car thief also sent his thoughts and prayers to the family of PC Harper.

PC Phillips, 42, who has undergone surgery for his injuries and remains seriously ill, could be in hospital for several months after suffering a shattered pelvis, West Midlands Police said.

After regaining consciousness, the officer expressed his thanks to the public for their support after the incident but also said his thoughts remained with Pc Harper's family.

Meanwhile, a senior police chief has urged the public should "lend a hand" if they see officers in confrontational situations.

Devon and Cornwall's Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said the public should “perhaps lend a hand” rather than videoing officers when "they're getting a kicking."

Pc Andrew Harper and his wife, Lissie Credit: PA

His comments follow cases where crowds have used their phones to video officers being assaulted late at night by drunken clubbers and comes just days after the murder of Pc Andrew Harper, the Thames Valley police officer dragged under a vehicle when investigating a reported burglary.

 Mr Sawyer told BBC Devon: "I have officers who are acting with compassion, with professionalism, with pride being assaulted day after day after day."

He said such assaults were not a “sob story” but “just the reality.” Figures show assaults where constables suffered an injury have risen by more than a quarter (27 per cent) in just a year from 8,157 in 2017 to 10,399, equivalent to 28 attacks a day on the police.

He said people should not film incidents but instead “consider using the phone to call someone.” 

Jim Colwell, Devon and Cornwall’s assistant chief constable, said the force did not condone members of the public "putting themselves in harm's way.” "It's more about how the public can play an active and meaningful role in keeping our communities safe," he added.

It echoes comments by Britain’s most senior police officer, Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who urged the public: “If you see an officer getting a kicking and you feel able to assist, absolutely I want my public getting involved.

“We don’t want people taking crazy risks, we do want people getting involved.”

The sentiment is backed by a YouGov poll for Barnardo’s which found that 29 per cent of the public believed more adults should intervene when they see youth violence, in order to make their area safer for children.