New­ly­wed of­fi­cer killed in ‘mind­less’ crime

● Ten peo­ple ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of mur­der af­ter PC dragged along by ve­hi­cle

The Scotsman - - FRONT PAGE - By RUS­SELL JACK­SON news­deskts@scots­man.com

PC An­drew Harper and his wife Lissie celebratin­g their wed­ding four weeks ago. Yes­ter­day ten peo­ple were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of mur­der af­ter he died fol­low­ing a “se­ri­ous in­ci­dent”.

The po­lice­man killed in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­ports of a bur­glary in Berk­shire was a 28-yearold new­ly­wed who had been dragged along by a ve­hi­cle be­fore he died.

Ten peo­ple have been ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of mur­der af­ter PC An­drew Harper died fol­low­ing a “se­ri­ous in­ci­dent” at 11:30pm on Thurs­day near the A4 Bath Road, be­tween Read­ing and New­bury, at the vil­lage of Sul­ham­stead.

Thames Val­ley Po­lice said boys and men aged be­tween 13 and 30 re­mained in cus­tody at var­i­ous po­lice sta­tions in the force area.

At a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, Chief Con­sta­ble John Camp­bell said PC Harper was at the scene with an­other of­fi­cer and was out of his po­lice car when the in­ci­dent oc­curred, ad­ding: “What we do know is An­drew had been dragged along by a ve­hi­cle.”

He said the suspects had been de­tained within about an hour of the in­ci­dent and of­fi­cers were work­ing “hard and dili­gently to find out what hap­pened”.

A post-mortem ex­am­i­na­tion was tak­ing place to es­tab­lish the cause of death.

Mr Camp­bell said that, be­cause it was a live in­ves­ti­ga­tion, only lim­ited de­tails could be pro­vided at this stage.

He said PC Harper joined as a spe­cial con­sta­ble in 2010 be­fore be­com­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer a year later, serv­ing in the roads policing pro-ac­tive unit based at Abing­don po­lice sta­tion in Ox­ford­shire.

He added that the con­sta­ble “only mar­ried four weeks ago”.

Pic­tures show PC Harper and his new wife Lissie celebratin­g their wed­ding at Ard­ing­ton House, a Ge­or­gian manor set in gardens and park­land, in Ox­ford­shire.

Rel­a­tives de­scribed the day as a “dream wed­ding”.

Mr Camp­bell said PC Harper was a “highly re­garded, pop­u­lar mem­ber of the team”.

His death rep­re­sents a “sig­nif­i­cant loss” to Thames Val­ley Po­lice and “also to his col­leagues and friends”, he said, ad­ding: “The of­fi­cer was well known across the force so it is felt very per­son­ally and it is felt very per­son­ally by the whole po­lice fam­ily across the UK.”

Mr Camp­bell added: “My thanks go to all those staff and of­fi­cers who at­tended this in­ci­dent, as well as our col­leagues at the fire ser­vice and also the am­bu­lance ser­vice for their pro­fes­sion­al­ism and sup­port at what you can imag­ine was ob­vi­ously a dis­tress­ing scene.”

He said the force’s flags were fly­ing at half-mast as a sign of re­spect “in honour and mem­ory of An­drew”.

The in­ci­dent took place at the cross­roads of Ufton Lane and Lamb­dens Hill, near Sul­ham­stead, close to Buck­le­bury, where Ca­role and Michael Middleton, the mother and fa­ther of the Duchess of Cam­bridge, live.

Of­fi­cers re­mained at the scene of the in­ci­dent, which was cor­doned off while ev­i­dence was gathered.

Yes­ter­day, foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors could be seen gath­er­ing items that lay on the road and tak­ing pho­to­graphs. Two white tents had also been erected.

Po­lice were also seen search­ing the in­side of a grey BMW at the scene, ac­cord­ing to wit­nesses.

Foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors at the crime scene in the Berk­shire vil­lage of Sul­ham­stead. Above right: Chief Con­sta­ble John Camp­bell ad­dresses the me­dia

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