Illiterate PC Andrew Harper killing ringleader left school at 12 to follow in dad & grandad’s footsteps as career thief


THE ringleader of the teen gang who killed PC Andrew Harper was taken out of school aged 12 by his father after he got into trouble with teachers.

Henry Long, 19, killed the hero cop with pals Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, by dragging him behind their car.

Unable to read and write, like his co-defendants, Long followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and began thieving.

Specialising in stealing quad-bikes and machinery, Long always carried tools for breaking into sheds, and snapping metal chains and padlocks.

He has four convictions for five offences of assault and battery, public order and being drunk and disorderly. He has two cautions for shoplifting.

The career thief had a reputation among friends as a good driver able to steer vehicles at high speeds.

In cross examination Long came ‘perilously close’ to admitting he was enjoying the police chase while PC Harper was being dragged behind him.

He tried to convince jurors that, had he known the officer was behind him, he would have stopped and tried to save him.

Long argued he could not hear or feel anything behind the car.

ALBERT Bowers, 18, is a convicted sex offender and racist thug and has a keen interest in hare coursing.

Photographs from his Facebook account show the teenager holding pictures up of dead hares killed by his sighthound hunting dog.

Bowers laughed in front of photographers following one of his initial appearances at Reading Magistrates’ Court after the killing.

The illiterate teenager struggled to follow court proceedings, with his attention span lasting only 40 minutes at a time, and he had to be supported by an intermediary.

He left school aged 11 and occasionally worked as a landscape gardener while supporting himself by stealing.

Jurors heard he and Long were close friends who often went out together to steal.

They both knew the nearby roads well and used this knowledge of the terrain to try and evade the police.

Bowers has three youth convictions in youth courts for five offences in total.

They included sexual assault, possessing an offensive weapon and assault and battery.

He was previously jailed for six months for a racially-aggravated public order offence.

JESSIE Cole, 18, claimed he had only recently met Bowers and Long.

He claimed he went out thieving with them because he was scared to do so on his own.

He attended a college for boys with learning difficulties and by the time he dropped out he could just spell his name.

Since then he worked with his father as a tree-cutter in Reading, Basingstoke and the Isle of Wight earning up to £70 a day.

In the weeks before the killing he worked with his father on the island before returning to live with his mother in Hampshire.

His parents had separated when he was 18-months-old and Cole said he was closer to his mother than his father.

As with Bowers, he was helped by an intermediary as he gave evidence.

Although he admitted to being a thief, Cole does not have any previous convictions.

He claimed he did not see PC Harper chasing him but dash-cam footage from the police car showed him turning towards the officer before jumping through the Toledo window to escape.

Within hours of PC Harper’s death the Long, Bowers and Cole were arrested at a nearby traveller camp, the jury were told.


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