PC Andrew Harper's wife has 'positive' chat with Priti Patel to help rid 'evil in our society' with longer jail terms

PC Andrew Harper's wife had a "positive" chat with the Home Secretary today to fight for tougher sentences for those who kill emergency workers.

Grieving Lissie Harper met with Priti Patel after launching a campaign to see that all criminals die behind bars if they are convicted of killing a police officer.

The 29-year-old launched the campaign after her 28-year-old husband was dragged to his death behind a car – with his killers spared life sentences.

A petition backing the "vital and urgent" law change now has more than 650,000 signatures.

Speaking after the meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, Lissie said: “I wanted to sit down with the Home Secretary and describe to her how it feels to look the people responsible for my husband’s death in the eye, knowing that they show no remorse for their actions and knowing that they will be released into the world once more to return to their lives of crime."

She said she believed the justice system was "broken" – pushing for Harper's Law.

She added: "The least we can expect from our justice system is that it ensures criminals who kill those emergency services workers protecting us are given appropriate and substantial prison sentences."

After sitting down with the politicians, she said she was pleased with the meeting, saying: "I am pleased to say they promised to work with us and support us in achieving our goal of providing justice to families of emergency services workers and stiffer and more appropriate sentences for those who take their lives.

"We know this won’t happen overnight and now wait for the next steps.

"We need change. I will not allow this to be kicked into the long grass. We need to properly protect our protectors.

"And I promise I won’t be shying away from the limelight to keep the pressure on those in power to make this happen."

And sources said once ministers had listened to Lissie, they will commission a review into judges' sentencing powers.

Harper's Law would mean a person found guilty of killing a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, paramedic or prison officer as a direct result of a crime they have committed, then they would be jailed for life.

In a joint statement, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said: "PC Andrew Harper was a hero whose loss has been felt across the country – but mostly by his wife, family and friends.

"We were pleased to sit down with Lissie today. She is extraordinarily courageous and her dedication to honouring her husband's memory is commendable."

Lissie, 29, and her 28-year-old husband, a Thames Valley Police offer, had been married for just four weeks when he was killed after responding to a late-night burglary in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, in August last year.

Last week Henry Long, one of PC Harper's killers, applied for permission to appeal against his 16-year prison sentence.

His co-accused, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, have also lodged applications seeking permission to challenge their convictions and their 13-year prison sentences.

All three were acquitted of murder but sentenced for the lesser charge of manslaughter after PC Harper got caught in a crane strap attached to the back of a car driven by Long, and was dragged to his death along dark country lanes.

Referring to their appeals, Lissie said: "I'm not overly surprised but pretty appalled that these people having shown no remorse now think it's within their right to appeal. Already the sentences are far too lenient.

"It feels totally wrong to me, which is why this campaign is so important.

"They just don't see what they've done. There isn't a deterrent for these people. They think they can commit crime and even take people's lives and that's acceptable but it isn't and we're disgusted by that sort of behaviour."

The group will have to serve at least two thirds of their sentences before they are eligible for release.

Long could be released in ten years and eight months. Bowers and Cole could also be eligible for release in eight years and six months.

The prison sentences given to all three have already been referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General for judges to decide whether they were too lenient.

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