Detectives given extra 36 hours to quiz suspects in death of police officer

Detectives given extra 36 hours to quiz suspects in death of police officer

Detectives investigating the murder of Pc Andrew Harper have been granted an extra 36 hours to question 10 suspects, including a 13-year-old boy.

The newlywed police officer, 28, died of multiple injuries after he was dragged along by a vehicle while investigating a burglary reported in the village of Bradfield Southend, Berkshire, on Thursday night.

The 10 suspects – aged between 13 and 30 – were arrested at the Four Houses Corner caravan park, near Burghfield Common, within an hour of the incident, Detective Superintendent Ailsa Kent said on Saturday.

Pc Harper died following the incident on Thursday night (family handout/PA)
Pc Harper died following the incident on Thursday night (family handout/PA)

Police are currently focusing their investigation on one vehicle, understood to be a Seat, following the incident shortly after 11pm on August 15.

Meanwhile, Pc Harper’s father has told how the family have been left “devastated” by the death.

Philip Harper also told Sky News “we’re in a bad place”.

Pc Andrew Harper and his wife, Lissie, celebrating their wedding just four weeks ago (Mark Lord/PA)
Pc Andrew Harper and his wife, Lissie, celebrating their wedding just four weeks ago (Mark Lord/PA)

Grieving officers have been laying floral tributes at the scene where their colleague was killed on Ufton Lane.

One message described the officer as “Thames Valley’s finest”.

Another tribute read: “A shockingly sad day. We come together as a brotherhood at times like this and hopefully your family can take some comfort from that love and support.”

Detective Superintendent Ailsa Kent gives an update on the case (Ben Birchall/PA)
Detective Superintendent Ailsa Kent gives an update on the case (Ben Birchall/PA)

Chief Constable John Campbell said on Friday that Pc Harper joined as a special constable in 2010 before becoming a police officer a year later, serving in the Roads Policing Proactive Unit based at Abingdon Police Station.

He added that the officer “only married four weeks ago”, and pictures show Pc Harper and his new wife Lissie celebrating their wedding at the award-winning stately venue Ardington House, a Georgian manor in Oxfordshire set in gardens and parkland.

Relatives described the day as a “dream wedding”.

Mr Campbell said Pc Harper was a “highly regarded, popular member of the team”, adding: “Everybody I’ve spoken to about Andrew talked about the incredible personality he was, what a fantastic police officer, and what a great friend and man he was, and he’ll be sorely missed by everybody.”

Mr Campbell extended his thanks to the officers and other emergency services who attended the incident for their support and professionalism at what was an “obviously distressing scene”.

A police officer lays a floral tribute at the scene where Pc Harper was killed (Ben Birchall/PA)
A police officer lays a floral tribute at the scene where Pc Harper was killed (Ben Birchall/PA)

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

Pc Harper is the first officer to be killed on duty since March 2017, when unarmed Pc Keith Palmer was stabbed by Khalid Masood during the Westminster Bridge terror attack.

The Berkshire incident came after a police constable was run over by a suspected car thief in Birmingham last week.

The married 42-year-old traffic officer from West Midlands Police is facing “potentially life-changing” injuries, a senior officer told the PA news agency.

That came just days after Metropolitan Police constable Stuart Outten, 28, was left with head and hand injuries after challenging a motor offences suspect allegedly armed with a machete in Leyton, east London.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the death of Pc Harper a “mindless and brutal” crime, saying he was “shocked and appalled” by the attack.

Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to call police on 101.

- Press Association

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