PC Harper’s wife talks of ‘endless sprawling dark’ in heartbreaking letter to her slain husband on wedding anniversary

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PC Andrew Harper’s widow spoke of “endless sprawling dark” in a heartbreaking letter to her tragic husband on what would have been their first anniversary.

Lissie Harper wrote how she will “never again know love like that” after her childhood sweetheart was killed just four weeks after they wed.

The 29-year-old posted the devastating letter days before the hero cop’s three teen killers were cleared of murder.

Albert Bowers, 18, along with 19-year-old Henry Long and Jessie Cole, also 18, were instead found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Lissie, who married PC Harper, 28, in a stunning wedding in Ardington House, wrote: “Twelve months since I walked down an aisle of incandescent light … it feels only yesterday that I stood in front of a vision of hope and happiness and love.

“The tears in your eyes that only I could see and the sheer happiness radiating from mine.

“I will never again know love like that. No one will ever know a love like ours. A most perfect day that will swim in my mind forever.”

She goes on to pay tribute to her husband on what would have been their first anniversary.

She said: “This day should have been wildly different, instead of celebrating with you on our first anniversary, I am alone in utter disbelief.

“How surreal it is that these days one year apart are at complete parallels, like a different world entirely.

“One of dazzling light and the other of endless sprawling dark. What I wouldn’t give to be back on that beautiful sunny day, dressed in white with your hand in mine and a lifetime of happiness swirling around our minds.

“I will spend the rest of my days never understanding the meaning of this cruelty, how the bad are allowed to live and the simply perfect souls are taken from this place of wondrous beauty.

“My heart belongs to you and my mind will forever remain the memory box that holds your smile, your laugh and every sweet second we had together. I will love you eternally my husband.”

PC Harper and Lissie had been planning their honeymoon together when he was dragged to his death while responding to a quad bike theft.

Long, Bowers and Cole hugged each other to the sound of their cheering families as the verdicts were read out at the Old Bailey on Friday.

But Lissie wept as the decision was given.

She bravely read a heartfelt statement outside the court describing how she has her “own life sentence”.

And she described her husband as “selfless, beautiful and heroic” and called his killers “senseless, barbaric and brutal”.

Mrs Harper said: “In all honesty I am for the second time in the space of one year utterly shocked and appalled.

“The decisions made in these courts by strangers will never change the outcome that had already come to us.”

She added: “No verdict or sentence will ever bring my incredible, selfless and heroic husband back.

“The results from this trial I had hoped would bring justice but in reality make no difference to the heart-wrenching pain I will continue to feel for the rest of my life.

“Andrew was taken from us on that horrendous night last year. His life was stolen and the lives of his family and friends altered forever.

“This crime, whatever the outcome deliberated over in court, was brutal and senseless.

“The way in which Andrew was robbed of his life we all know to be barbaric and inexplicable.

“I am immensely disappointed with the verdict given today.”

PC Harper’s family have now launched a petition to overturn the manslaughter convictions.

Mum Deboarah Adlam said: “We are utterly ashamed of what has happened in this case. This is not ­justice for Andrew.

“I do not for one second believe manslaughter is good enough for Andrew’s killers.”

His grandmother, Maureen Shrimpton, 77, ­added: “We just hope that the judge hands down a sentence that shows that attacks on the police can’t be tolerated. They need protection.”

Long, Bowers and Cole had watched the verdict via videolink after the jury had deliberated for almost two days.

The former had earlier admitted manslaughter, while all three had denied murder.

The trio are now facing substantially shorter jail sentences after being convicted of the lesser charge.

As he was waiting to face trial, Bowers sent celebration cards home to his mum Donna, who ­posted images of the cards on Facebook.

He also posted two two hand-drawn pictures of golfers and semi-literate handwritten notes, the Sunday People reports.

Bowers said: “Mum I know it ain’t a birthday card but I had to send you…

“I know it probley wont the best birthday but I’ll be out one day and we will have a better day wont we.

“Hope you had the best day you could of had.

“I pot two golf piks in that I done while I’ve been sat in me room bored. Love you mum xxxx”

And in a card addressed to his sister, he whinged: “I wish I was out with ya.”

It came after jurors heard a car driven by Long at “breakneck speed” swung PC Harper “like a pendulum” along a country lane, as he apprehended the teen gang during a botched robbery near Reading, Berks.

The heartless thugs smirked and laughed as his horrific injuries were read out to jurors.

While Bowers was so bored during the trial he fell asleep as the prosecutor showed jurors video footage of the Thames Valley Police officer being dragged to his death.

The teens had tried to steal the £10,000 bike from the home of Peter Wallis in remote Bradfield Southend, when they were apprehended by PC Harper.

The gang had cased the property earlier in the day and later returned masked and armed with an axe, crowbars and a length of pipe to use against anyone in their way.

PC Harper and his colleagues came across the gang driving towards them on narrow Admoor Lane.

Cole unhitched the bike and dived through a passenger window to escape the hero cop who had got out of the unmarked BMW police car.

But PC Harper’s ankles then got caught in the tow rope attached to the suspects’ getaway car as they drove off.

He was dragged along the stretch of road at up to 60mph by the SEAT in horrendous circumstances.

The court heard that the officer – who was responding to the reported theft four hours after the end of his shift on August 15 last year – would have been rendered unconscious almost immediately and was unable to free himself.

PC Harper’s body was completely naked apart from his socks when discovered by the officer’s horrified colleagues.

The officer was “barely alive” but died at the scene a short time later.

Long initially denied involvement in the incident and told police in a prepared statement that he had been watching The Goonies and Fast And Furious DVDs.

Jurors heard that he told detectives: “Look at me. Do I look like a murderer?”

Later, on September 18, when Long was charged with murder and conspiracy to steal, he said: “I don’t give a f*** about any of this.”

But during the trial Long finally admitted he had killed the police officer and said it made him feel “disgraceful”.

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