The killers of hero policeman Andrew Harper have received £465,000 in legal aid, the Mail can reveal.
The astonishing sum was paid to solicitors and barristers defending the three teenagers who dragged the constable to his death behind a car for more than a mile.
Last night PC Harper’s widow Lissie said she was ‘horrified’ by the figures, adding: ‘Not only did we not get justice for Andrew, we now know the cost of that injustice.’
Lawyers for gang ringleader Henry Long, 19, were paid £169,175.
His accomplices Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18, had separate legal teams who were paid £131,696 and £164,898 respectively – a total to the taxpayer of just under £465,769.
All three were spared life sentences for their sickening crime and could be back on the streets in just eight years.
Mrs Harper, 29, said: ‘It saddens me – but does not surprise me – that so much public money has been and continues to be spent on defending the indefensible.
The killers of hero policeman Andrew Harper have received £465,000 in legal aid, the Mail can reveal. Pictured: Albert Bowers (left in green) and Jessie Cole (in red) leaving Reading Magistrates Court following a hearing in September 2019
Lawyers for gang ringleader Henry Long (pictured left), 19, were paid £169,175. His accomplices Albert Bowers (pictured right) and Jessie Cole (pictured centre), both 18, had separate legal teams who were paid £131,696 and £164,898 respectively – a total to the taxpayer of just under £465,769
Last night PC Harper’s widow Lissie said she was ‘horrified’ by the figures, adding: ‘Not only did we not get justice for Andrew, we now know the cost of that injustice’
‘This just doesn’t seem right or fair. Andrew was my whole life. I have had to sit in a courtroom and witness the people who chose to take my husband’s life show no remorse.’
Senior police officer ‘disgusted’ as assaults on emergency workers spike in England and Wales
One of the country’s most senior police officers says he is ‘disgusted’ at a surge in assaults against emergency service workers in England and Wales.
Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said constabularies will ‘use the full force of the law’ to prosecute those who attack police officers, ambulance workers and fire crews.
It comes after figures showed assaults on emergency workers were up 31 per cent on the same period last year.
The data looked at the 28 days after pubs reopened on July 4.
Mrs Harper has launched a campaign for a change in the law to see all criminals die behind bars if they are convicted of killing a police officer.
‘Our petition calling for this now has more than 500,000 signatures,’ she said.
‘I am sure the public – whose support for me has been unstinting – will be as horrified as I am to know how much money is going towards paying this trio’s escalating legal costs.
‘It’s news such as this that makes me more determined than ever to keep on fighting for Harper’s Law, which would mean these despicable criminals are jailed for life.’
The three killers showed no remorse after dragging PC Harper, 28, to his death during a police chase last year.
Long, who told police he ‘didn’t give a f*** about any of this’ when he was initially charged with murder, was jailed for 16 years.
Judge Mr Justice Edis warned that if he were left on the streets it would only be a ‘matter of time’ before someone else died.
Bowers and Cole, who have learning difficulties, were each jailed for 13 years. All three were acquitted of murder.
The group will have to serve at least two-thirds of their sentences in jail before they are eligible for release.
This means ‘dangerous’ Long could be out in just ten years and eight months and his co-accused could be released in eight-and-a-half years.
However, the sentences are the subject of two separate appeals.
Mrs Harper, 29, said: ‘It saddens me – but does not surprise me – that so much public money has been and continues to be spent on defending the indefensible
Attorney General Suella Braverman has referred them to the Court of the Appeal for being ‘unduly lenient’.
Simultaneously, Bowers and Cole have lodged challenges against their manslaughter convictions with the same court. Both cases are likely to lead to further legal aid payouts.
Figures seen by the Mail show Long’s team of solicitors was paid £119,405 while his barrister, a QC, got £48,622.
Bowers’ solicitors were paid £78,804 and his barristers £52,282. In Cole’s case, £78,804 was paid to solicitors and £85,132 to his QC.
A further £2,720 went on legal representation for all three at the police station after their initial arrest. All the figures include VAT.
The total legal aid bill will reflect the fact a first trial had to be abandoned in March due to the lockdown. A second trial then took place.
The Legal Aid Authority, which handles payments, is also understood to pay higher fees in cases where a defendant is accused of killing a police officer or another public official.
By contrast, police officers’ widows receive a ‘death in service lump sum grant’.
It is not known how much was due to Mrs Harper, but it is likely to have been only a five-figure sum.
The Police Federation website says the grant is calculated as ‘two times your pensionable salary’.
PCs in England and Wales earn a basic salary of between £25,560 and £40,128.
Thames Valley officer PC Harper, who had been married for just four weeks, was killed after he responded to reports of a quad bike theft in rural Berkshire in August last year.
Thames Valley officer PC Harper, who had been married for just four weeks, was killed after he responded to reports of a quad bike theft in rural Berkshire in August last year
Long, Bowers and Cole had ‘carefully planned’ the theft, and ‘acquired’ a high-powered Seat in the preceding days for the purpose of evading police.
The group made a living stealing, with Long’s father and grandfather described as thieves.
The gang attached the quad bike to the car using a tow rope, with Long, who had ‘never done an honest day’s work in his life’, driving.
But when PC Harper tried to stop the men, his ankles became tangled in the rope before the group sped off.
His clothes were ripped from his body as the car swerved from side to side, and he suffered ‘absolutely catastrophic, unsurvivable injuries,’ the trial heard.
Sentencing the men at the Old Bailey last month, Mr Justice Edis said: ‘You killed a talented and brave young police officer who was going above and beyond his duty in order to provide a public service, and you did so because you had deliberately decided to expose any police officer who got in your way to a risk of death.
‘You decided that your freedom to commit crime was more important than his life.’
Additional reporting by Helen Carroll