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Family of Pc Andrew Harper ‘torn apart’ by his death as police pay tribute

UK News | Published:

The 28-year-old officer was killed near the Berkshire village of Sulhamstead last Thursday.

Family members look at floral tributes for Pc Andrew Harper at the Thames Valley Police Training Centre (Steve Parsons/PA)

The family of a police officer who was killed responding to a burglary said their “lives and hearts have been torn apart” as they and his colleagues observed a minute’s silence in his honour.

Pc Andrew Harper, from Thames Valley Police, died from multiple injuries after being dragged under a vehicle near the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire last Thursday evening.

The 28-year-old newlywed’s family stood alongside over a hundred officers and staff at the Thames Valley Police training centre at 11am, where flowers had been laid in the grounds.

In a tribute ahead of the memorial on Friday, Pc Harper’s mother Debbie said their family was “devastated and bereft” by his death, thanking police officers, paramedics and the general public for their “outpouring of love”.

She said: “Going on to my dearest and desperately missed Andrew, our lives and hearts have been torn apart, to be taken from us all and his childhood sweetheart Lissie and her lovely family who have been his closest family of late.

“We are devastated and bereft but as Andrew always lived with dignity, honour and calmness, we intend to grieve in this way.

Police officer killed in Sulhamstead
The 28-year-old was killed responding to reports of a burglary in a Berkshire village (Family handout/PA)

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“A big part of me has gone with you, I cannot imagine our lives going forward but we will do so with Andrew in our hearts.”

As a boy, she said Pc Harper was “always the most balanced, calm, caring, loving, but hilariously funny character”, adding: “Everything he did was with a smile.”

His mother and other family members attended the service at the Sulhamstead training centre, where his father placed a sunflower among floral tributes and balloons that had been moved from the scene.

Describing his son as “more incredible than Mr Incredible, more super than Superman”, his father Phil and stepmother Karen said: “You had time for everyone, time to listen to them, bringing comfort and calmness wherever you went.

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“You would always put yourself forward to look after the people around you, and would always see the good in others. You always made us laugh, always bringing tears of happiness to our eyes.”

Thames Valley Police was joined in a minute's silence by other police forces on Friday (Steve Parsons/PA)
Thames Valley Police was joined in a minute’s silence by other police forces on Friday (Steve Parsons/PA)

Pc Harper had been married to Lissie for just four weeks when he died, and she described him as “the kindest, loveliest, most selfless” person.

His brother Sean, who laid a bouquet among the tributes on Friday, said it was only weeks ago that he was writing the best man’s speech for the wedding, calling him “the funniest, bravest, most compassionate person I’ve ever known”.

A police officer blew a whistle to mark the start of the silence as police forces across the country also planned to fall silent in his honour.

Chief Constable John Campbell called Pc Harper a “dearly loved and respected colleague, friend and proud police officer”, adding it was a time for “gathering, a time to pause, and a time to reflect”.

Members of the local ambulance and fire service who responded to the incident last Thursday also attended the minute’s silence to pay their respects, he added.

Police officer killed in Sulhamstead
Pc Andrew Harper’s mother Debbie hugs other family members after the minute’s silence (Steve Parsons/PA)

Force chaplain Helen Arnold led the remembrance service, praying for Pc Harper’s “family and close friends, for whom Andrew’s death left such emptiness”.

“We give thanks for all that he gave, his enthusiasm, care for others, his commitment to policing,” she said.

“This Police Family to which he belonged will not forget him.”

A fundraising page set up by the Thames Valley Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, had raised more than £260,000.

Jed Foster, 20, has been charged with murder over the death of Pc Harper.

He was one of 10 men and boys aged between 13 and 30 arrested following the incident.

The remaining nine have been bailed until September 13.

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