The leader of the group of teenagers who killed the PC Andrew Harper should have been sentenced to life imprisonment rather than the 16 years he received, while his accomplices should also see their prison terms increased by 13 years each, a court said.
The attorney general argued that the sentences handed down on Henry Long, 19, and 18-year-old Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers were all unduly lenient, at an appeals court hearing on Monday.
“PC Harper paid the ultimate price for his bravery and that should be reflected in the sentence,” Suella Braverman QC said in a brief. “These are the convictions that have aroused and continue to arouse general public concern. It seems to me that the sentences handed down to the offenders were unduly lenient.
Braverman told the hearing before the Royal Courts of Justice in London that Long’s sentence did not reflect the gravity of the offense he had committed and was against the interests of justice.
“A life sentence was the appropriate sentence for the first offender, who was and remains dangerous… if not in a case like this, then when?” she told the three judges of the appeals court.
The attorney general also argued that the sentencing judge “had given too much of a reduction” to Bowers and Coles’ sentences “for their age and learning difficulties.”
The trio’s lawyers, who appeared by video link from Belmarsh prison, are expected to seek leave to appeal the length of their sentences, arguing that the length of prison sentences was “manifestly excessive”.
Harper was dragged to death on August 15, 2019 after becoming entangled in a crane strap attached to the back of the teenagers’ getaway car. The Thames Valley police officer was called after learning that teenagers were trying to steal an ATV. The 28-year-old had married his partner, Lissie Harper, a few weeks in advance.
Long, who was driving, admitted manslaughter, while Cole and Bowers were convicted during their trial in July. All three were cleared by the jury, which deliberated for more than 12 hours.
The officer’s wife campaigned for a “Harper law”, which would mean those who kill rescue workers are jailed for life. She met with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland this month.
The hearing before Dame Victoria Sharp, Lord Justice Holroyde and Mr. Justice William Davis continues.