Berkshire police officer ‘murder’: 13-year-old boy among 10 arrested after officer killed while investigating burglary

Recently married PC Andrew Harper was dragged underneath vehicle, chief constable says

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affair Correspondent
Friday 16 August 2019 11:56 BST
Scene at junction in Berkshire where police officer was killed while attending a reported burglary

A police officer has been killed while responding to reports of a burglary in Berkshire.

PC Andrew Harper was among officers called to an incident near the A4 between Reading and Newbury on Thursday night.

Thames Valley Police said it had launched a murder investigation after he was “killed while performing his duties”.

Chief Constable John Campbell said the 28-year-old officer, who got married last month, had been dragged along underneath a vehicle.

We have to examine and establish the exact cause of death for Andrew, and there’s a post-mortem taking place, he told a press conference.

“We are working hard and diligently to establish what has happened.”

Photographs from the scene showed a long trail of blood in the road, as forensics officers examined a grey BMW.

Investigators have arrested 10 people, including a 13-year-old boy, on suspicion of murder and taken them into police custody.

Boris Johnson said he was “shocked and appalled” by PC Harper’s death.

My thoughts are with PC Harper’s family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time, the prime minister wrote on Twitter.

It is the most powerful reminder that police officers up and down the country put themselves at risk every single day to keep us safe. They have my absolute support.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, said her thoughts were with PC Harper’s family.

 The 28-year-old officer married his wife Lissie only four weeks ago (Mark Lord/PA)
 (Mark Lord Photography)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: For a police officer to be killed doing his duty is appalling. Whoever is responsible must be brought to justice.”

He sent his condolences to the officer’s family and colleagues.

PC Harper was attached to the Roads Policing Proactive Unit based at Abingdon Police Station.

He joined Thames Valley Police as a special constable in 2010, and became a regular police officer in 2011.

To add further angst to what are terrible circumstances, Andrew was only married four weeks ago, Mr Campbell said. “He was a highly regarded, popular member of the team.”

The chief constable said PC Harper’s crewmate witnessed his death, and several other officers attended the scene.

It is very distressing for them, he added. As well as them being professional police witnesses, we are making sure that we are dealing with their welfare.”

Police officers at the scene on Ufton Lane, near Sulhamstead, Berkshire, on Friday (PA)

The incident happened at the crossroads of Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill, near Sulhamstead, at around 11.30pm on Thursday night.

Police would not confirm the precise location, and the only buildings near the junction are a shut-down pub and storage units for local small businesses.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Blaik, the senior investigating officer, said: This is a tragic incident, and I would like to reassure the public as well as our officers and staff that we have launched a full and thorough investigation to establish what has happened.

We have made a total of 10 arrests in connection with this incident, and those arrested are currently in police custody. Those arrested are all male and aged between 13 and 30.

“I would appeal to anyone who witnessed this incident to get in touch.”

Andy Fiddler, from Thames Valley Police Federation, said the association was supporting PC Harper’s family.

This is totally devastating news, he added. All our thoughts – and the thoughts of the entire police family across the UK are with the family, friends and close colleagues of PC Andrew Harper who died last night.

Police officers go to work each and every day to do their duty. We are courageous, caring and compassionate. We confront danger on a daily basis. We know there is a risk when we put on the uniform, but we do so as we are proud to protect the public.

Sadly on very rare and horrendous occasions a colleague makes the ultimate sacrifice. We will ensure that heroism is never forgotten.

Police officer injured after being run over by suspected car thief in Birmingham

The incident came after several recent attacks on police officers in Britain.

An alleged car thief was charged with attempted murder after running an officer over in Birmingham last week, after another officer was attacked with a machete in London.

Asked whether he believed policing was becoming more dangerous, Mr Campbell said violence against officers had been increasing and added: There will always be those who have a disregard for law and order.”

Last year, the potential prison sentences given to people who attack members of the emergency services were doubled in an attempt to crack down on abuse.

Anyone with information is asked to visit the Thames Valley Police website or call 101.

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