A newlywed 28-year-old police officer murdered while responding to reports of a burglary was described by his devastated family today as the ‘loveliest person that you will ever meet’.
PC Andrew Harper was allegedly struck by a car in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, and dragged under it for a distance, before being hit by another car last night.
Ten males aged 13 to 30 were arrested on suspicion of murder and are today being held in custody at police stations across the Thames Valley region.
PC Harper had married his fiancée Lissie on July 18 in a ‘dream wedding’, and they were due to go on a honeymoon next week to celebrate. Relatives said they were left ‘devastated’ by his death but added that they were ‘so proud of him’.
The incident at 11.30pm yesterday took place next to the 12-bedroom Braeburn Lodge care home for the elderly.
It followed a 24-hour crime wave of a teenager stabbed to death in South London, a father fatally assaulted with a screwdriver in Newcastle and a man attacked outside the Home Office.
Just last week a police officer was stabbed by a man armed with a machete in Leyton, East London. The officer only escaped with his life after firing his Taser.
Newlywed PC Andrew Harper had married his fiancée Lissie on July 18, and they were due to go on honeymoon together next week
PC Harper was allegedly struck by a car in Berkshire and dragged under it for a distance
Police officers at the scene today in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, after a detective was killed
Flowers are laid today near to where Thames Valley Police office Andrew Harper was killed
The incident at 11.30pm yesterday took place next to the 12-bedroom Braeburn Lodge care home for the elderly (pictured: PC Andrew Harper)
The incident also comes only days after a married 42-year-old West Midlands Police constable was run over by a suspected car thief in Birmingham last week.
PC Harper’s family paid tribute to him on Facebook today with his grandmother, Maureen Shrimpton saying: ‘Just a really horrible day.
‘Our grandson Andrew was killed last night while doing his police work. So proud of him. Our love goes to his lovely wife, Mum and Dad, brother and all of his family and friends. Love from Nan and Bubba xxx’
His uncle Dale Shrimpton added: ‘He’s my oldest nephew. My sister’s first born. Mum and dad’s first grandson… and was married two weeks ago at a dream wedding.
‘We are devastated. He was the loveliest person that you will ever meet. I can’t begin to tell you how we feel.’
PC Harper had been planning to take part in a charity run at the Dirty Weekend 2020 Burghley, a 20-mile obstacle course, for Children with Cancer UK.
PC Harper(pictured) had been planning to take part in a charity run at the Dirty Weekend 2020 Burghley, a 20-mile obstacle course, for Children with Cancer UK
An aerial view of the scene in Sulhamstead in Berkshire where the policeman has been killed. The 12-bedroom care home can be seen at the side of the junction
PC Harper’s family including his grandmother Maureen and uncle Dale have paid tribute
Ten people were arrested on suspicion of murder after the incident in Berkshire yesterday
What appears to be a trail of blood leads from Lambdens Hill across the A4 in Berkshire today
Thames Valley Police Chief Constable John Campbell said PC Harper had been dragged along by a vehicle, adding that it was a ‘terrible day’ for the force.
Society has ‘less fear of the police’, officer says after machete attack
The boss of the officer stabbed by a machete said last week that people in modern day society have ‘less fear of the police’.
Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker on Good Morning Britain last week
Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker is head of the unit including Stuart Otten, who was attacked last Thursday in Leyton, East London.
He said that the attack which shocked the nation was a ‘symptom of people having less fear of the police’.
Mr Tucker added: ‘It’s shocking, but unfortunately it’s not uncommon. I’ve been in police for a long time — there’s certainly a sense of a lack of respect, not just for police but for authority.’
At a press conference this afternoon, he said: ‘We are all shocked and saddened by the death of our colleague PC Andrew Harper.’
He added: ‘Tragically Andrew was attending a reported burglary along with a crew mate and was killed at the scene whilst performing his duties.’
Mr Campbell added that PC Harper was a roads policing officer joined Thames Valley Police as a special constable in 2010, and became a regular police officer in 2011.
He said: ‘Our thoughts are with Andrew’s friends and family who are being supported obviously by specially trained family liaison officers.’
Mr Campbell also revealed PC Harper was married just four weeks ago, which will ‘add further angst to what are terrible circumstances.’
Witnesses reported seeing a ‘huge police presence’ at the well-known traveller site of Burghfield Common today, about two miles from where PC Harper died, and officers were seen blocking entrance to the site.
A Thames Valley Police spokesman told MailOnline officers were carrying out enquiries at the site as part of the investigation following PC Harper’s death.
One woman, who lives near to where the accident happened, said: ‘It happened on Ufton Lane on the Bath Road, a stone’s throw away from where I live.
‘It’s mad here, the police helicopters out and there are officers everywhere.’
She said some of the people involved are ‘understood to be from the travellers site near AWE Aldermaston’.
Police attended a traveller site near Burghfield Common today, about two miles from where PC Harper died, and officers were seen blocking entrance to the site as they carried out enquiries in relation to the death of PC Harper
Pictured: Officers lay flowers at the scene where PC Andrew Harper was killed in Berkshire
Police remained at the scene today, which was still cordoned off while evidence was gathered (pictured: PC Harper with a friend)
PC Harper is pictured with his mother Deborah. He has been praised by his relatives today
PC Harper had married his fiancee Lissie Harper just a month ago and were starting a new life together as a married couple
The adventurous couple, shown here taking a selfie as on a river on an exotic holiday, were due to go on honeymoon imminently
The couple’s family spoke with great pride about the bravery he had shown as his life was taken in the line of duty
The couple married at the luxurious location of Ardington House in Oxfordshire last month
One woman responding to the news of the arrests wrote online: ‘That would explain the huge police presence at the Burghfield Common travellers site.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted this morning: ‘I am deeply shocked and appalled by the death of a brave officer on duty in Thames Valley last night.
‘My thoughts are with PC Harper’s family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time. It is the most powerful reminder that police officers up and down the country put themselves at risk every single day to keep us safe. They have my absolute support.’
** Were you there or do you know PC Harper? Email email@example.com or call 020 3615 1838 **
Robert Courts, MP for Witney & West Oxfordshire, said: ‘This is very sad news. A reminder of the risks run by the brave police force at @ThamesVP every time they put on a uniform to serve.
‘I offer my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of PC Andrew Harper, as will everyone in West Oxfordshire.’
The incident happened just three miles from the home of Carole and Michael Middleton, the mother and father of the Duchess of Cambridge.
Police remained at the scene today, which was still cordoned off while evidence was gathered.
Forensic investigators gathered items that lay on the road and took photographs, while police also searched inside a grey BMW. Two white tents were also erected.
A police investigator at the scene of the incident after the officer was killed in Sulhamstead
Police at the scene today as a man lays a bunch of flowers near where the officer was killed
Police officers at the scene on the crossroads of Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill in Sulhamstead
PC Andrew Harper, who got married four weeks ago, died on 15 August 2019 in Berkshire, while attending a reported burglary (pictured: The scene)
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police told MailOnline: ‘This police presence in Four Houses Caravan Park forms part of the investigation following the death of PC Andrew Harper. Officers are at the scene making enquiries’
Multiple police helicopters patrolled the skies today above the cordon which separated forensics teams from the public at the scene of the incident.
Police pay tribute with ‘thin blue line’ image on social media profiles
Police officers paid tribute to PC Harper today by posting a picture in their social media profiles of a thin blue line.
The thin blue line image used by police in social media tributes to PC Harper today
The image is representative of the phrase which refers to the position of police in society.
Among those changing their profile pictures was Melissa Todd, who said of PC Harper: ‘An amazing friend and colleague. My thoughts are with his family.’
Former colleague Fred Swanborough added: ‘God bless, such a lovely bloke, had the pleasure of working alongside him for a short period last year. Thank you for your service PC Harper, RIP.’
Blue police tents and tape marking the perimeter of the cordon were blown away in the winds, as a stream of traffic drove past on the busy main road.
Forensics teams and vans from TVP’s operations department, as well as neighbourhood policing officers, had vehicles parked at either side of the junction.
PC Harper from the Thames Valley Police Roads Policing Proactive Unit was based at Abingdon Police Station in Oxfordshire.
The incident happened near the A4 Bath Road between Reading and Newbury at the crossroads of Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill.
PC Harper is said to have been one of the first officers to arrive at the scene and to have been the victim because he was one of the few to arrive quickly.
Sally Benatar, leader of the South West Basic Command Unit in the Metropolitan Police, said: ‘So sad to read this.
‘PC Harper was the officer in the case when my then husband was arrested for domestic violence in 2016. He was on Thames Valley Police Response then.
‘He was brilliant and gave me the courage to take steps to change my life. I can’t thank him enough. He was a top officer.’
His former colleague Fred Swanborough said: ‘God bless, such a lovely bloke, had the pleasure of working alongside him for a short period last year. Thank you for your service PC Harper, RIP.’
The incident happened at the crossroads of Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill, near Sulhamstead
The Thames Valley police officer was praised as ‘brave’ by the Prime Minister after the incident
Police remain at the scene of the incident today with Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill both shut
Melissa Todd added: ‘An amazing friend and colleague. My thoughts are with his family.’
Chief constable insists ‘policing has always been dangerous’
TVP Chief Constable John Campbell
Thames Valley Police Chief Constable John Campbell was asked at a press conference today about whether policing is becoming more dangerous.
‘I think policing has always been dangerous,’ he said, adding that there is an increase in violence presented towards officers.
‘We know recently, within the last two weeks, we had Pc Stuart Outten from the Metropolitan Police that was attacked, and then we had Pc Gareth Phillips from West Midlands Police who suffered serious injuries, and we wish them all collectively well for their recovery.
‘So, police officers, day in day out, face the kind of challenges and physical violence that often result in assault.
‘In these circumstances, in these extreme circumstances, it’s resulted in the loss of Andrew’s life, so from that point of view, is policing getting more violent?
‘I think generally there’s a challenge for society in terms of the easy recourse to violence’But, certainly from a policing of view, we know there are certain associated risks.’
And local resident Laura Bibby wrote: ‘I am so saddened to hear of this terrible news we could hear the helicopter last night so we knew something serious had happened.
‘Thoughts are with the family of the courageous man who paid the ultimate price for the safety of others. RIP.’
One local resident said: ‘We didn’t see anything, but the first we knew about it was at half past five this morning when a police officer turned up saying we couldn’t leave the house. And now we’ve seen this coming out on the news – it’s terrible.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘I’m devastated and appalled by the tragic death of PC Andrew Harper and my thoughts are with his loved ones, colleagues and the community he served with great pride at this immensely difficult time.‘
Chancellor Sajid Javid added in a tweet: ‘So saddened by this news. My thoughts with PC Harper’s family, friends and colleagues. A devastating loss.’
PC Harper died in the line of duty protecting the public and his incredible bravery and extraordinary sacrifice will not be forgotten.
‘Our dedicated police officers go to work every day to serve their communities. They are courageous and professional people who confront danger on a daily basis. The risks they take to keep us all safe are enormous.
‘As Home Secretary, I’ll do everything in my power to support them and crack down on the cowardly criminals who commit appalling acts of violence.’
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said she is ‘incredibly saddened’ by news of PC Harper’s death. The Labour MP tweeted: ‘Incredibly saddened to hear about the events that took place in Berkshire last night.
Police officers stand next to two blue tents today at the scene of the incident in Sulhamstead
Tents have been erected after the Thames Valley Police officer was killed overnight
‘All my thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the courageous PC Andrew Harper who was killed in the line of duty.’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was ‘totally shocked’ by the death of PC Andrew Harper, and said it highlighted the need for more police officers on the streets.
Speaking from Machynlleth during a visit to Wales today, he said: ‘I’m totally shocked at Andrew Harper’s death, and my immediate thoughts are condolences to his family and to his colleagues who must be going through some awful moments at the present time.
‘He was doing his duty apparently investigating a robbery of some sort, and was killed in the line of duty.
Police launched a murder probe after the incident in Sulhamstead, pictured today
A murder investigation was launched today after a police officer was killed in Berkshire
‘Ten people have been arrested already, which I hope is good news in the sense that they are taken out of the equation and can’t commit any more crimes if they are indeed the guilty ones.
‘Let’s just think for a moment of the horror of it, but also for the need for more police officers to be able to respond to disorder in our society, but also the problem of guns and the problem of violence that is growing.’
Labour MP and shadow policing and crime minister Louise Haigh tweeted: ‘Absolutely horrific news, my thoughts are with PC Andrew Harper’s loved ones and the whole police family at this terrible time.
‘(Although) it won’t bring him back, I hope the culprit is swiftly brought to justice.’
Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg said: ‘Our deepest thoughts at this time are of course with Andrew’s friends and family, who are being supported by specially trained family liaison officers.
Ten men aged 13 to 30 were arrested on suspicion of murder after the incident in Sulhamstead
The incident happened at the crossroads of Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill, near Sulhamstead
The police officer who died was from the Thames Valley Police Roads Policing Proactive Unit
Thames Valley Police said flags were flying at half mast across the force this morning
‘Our thoughts also extend to all of Andrew’s colleagues within Thames Valley Police. As a force we are devastated at the loss of our colleague and will all be supporting each other at this difficult time.’
Andy Fiddler, from Thames Valley Police Federation, said: ‘This is totally devastating news.
‘All our thoughts – and the thoughts of the entire police family across the UK – are with the family, friends and close colleagues of PC Andrew Harper who died last night.
‘Police officers go to work each and every day to do their duty. We are courageous, caring and compassionate. We confront danger on a daily basis. We know there is a risk when we put on the uniform but we do so as we are proud to protect the public.
‘Sadly on very rare and horrendous occasions a colleague makes the ultimate sacrifice. We will ensure that heroism is never forgotten.’
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Blaik, of the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit, said: ‘This is a tragic incident, and I would like to reassure the public as well as our officers and staff that we have launched a full and thorough investigation to establish what has happened.
‘We have made a total of ten arrests in connection with this incident, and those arrested are currently in police custody.
‘Those arrested are all male and aged between 13 and 30. I would appeal to anyone who witnessed this incident to get in touch.’
It comes just a day after figures from the Government revealed the number of Thames Valley officers being assaulted had risen by 33 per cent in the past year.
Britain’s officers were attacked 1,057 times in 2018 to 2019, with 198 in the Thames Valley region injured in that period, making it the sixth worst of 40 UK forces.
John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: ‘The shocking news this morning from our colleagues at Thames Valley Police is simply devastating.
‘My thoughts, those of the Police Federation, and of the whole police service are with PC Harper’s family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time.
‘Every day police officers run towards the unknown, putting themselves in harm’s way to do their duty and protect the public. Sadly, on awful occasions such as this they make the ultimate sacrifice.
‘When one of us falls the loss is felt by the entire police family.
‘Our focus now is on supporting those who have been affected by what happened, and we and our colleagues at Thames Valley Police Federation will continue to offer them all the help and assistance we can at this tragic time.’
In the wake of the Leyton attack last week, Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker from the Metropolitan Police said it was ‘a symptom of people having less fear of the police… a sense of a lack of respect, not just for police but for authority’.
Earlier this month the prime minister promised 10,000 extra prison places, 20,000 more police officers and an urgent review of sentencing of criminals.
The focus on crime and other domestic issues before Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31 has fuelled speculation that Mr Johnson is planning to call an election.
Thames Valley Police have asked anyone with any information about the investigation to leave their details on its website or call 101.
** Were you there or do you know PC Harper? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3615 1838 **
Britain’s bravest bobby: Family’s pride in stabbed PC who was knifed with a foot-long blade in London
PC Stuart Outten attacked with a machete in East London last week after stopping a van driver suspected of traffic offences
The family of the heroic policeman who survived a savage machete onslaught said they are ‘incredibly proud’ of the bravery he showed.
PC Stuart Outten was knifed with a foot-long blade last week after pulling over a van driver suspected of having no insurance.
The 28-year-old’s family said his injuries could have been fatal after he suffered four deep cuts to his head and neck.
Despite bleeding profusely, the officer managed to incapacitate his attacker with a Taser stun gun and then call for an ambulance on his radio.
Mobile phone footage has emerged which shows him bent over in the road while a passer-by tells him he is bleeding, to which PC Outten sighed and replied: ‘Oh, yeah.’
His heroism led many to brand PC Outten as ‘the hardest bobby in Britain’.
He was rushed to hospital in a critical condition following the attack in Leyton, East London, shortly after midnight on Thursday morning of last week.
Astonishingly, he was discharged from hospital at about 2pm the next day – just 38 hours after the attack. Wounds on his left cheek, both temples and on the back of his head were stitched up.
He underwent surgery to re-attach tendons in his thumb, which was almost chopped off during the attack.
The man accused of attacking PC Outten appeared in court last week charged with attempted murder. Muhammad Rodwan, from Luton, is also charged with possession of an offensive weapon.
Deputy District Judge Adrian Turner remanded Rodwan in custody at Thames Magistrates’ Court until his next appearance at the Old Bailey on September 6.
Bloody day of crime in Lawless Britain: Teen, 18, is stabbed to death in south London hours after lawyer is fatally attacked with screwdriver in 24 hours of mayhem
Britain has suffered a bloody 24-hour crime wave which saw a teenager stabbed to death and a father fatally attacked with a screwdriver.
London witnessed its second murder in less than two days when a 18-year-old man was attacked in Brixton at around 2pm yesterday.
Shocked witnesses told how they saw the mother of the victim turn up at the scene and was screaming: ‘My son, my son’ over and over again.
It came less than 24 hours after lawyer and ‘devoted’ father Peter Duncan, 52, died from a single stab wound to the chest after he was assaulted with a screwdriver outside a Greggs bakery in Newcastle.
BRIXTON: Police and forensics officers on the scene on Corrance Road in the south London neighbourhood, where an 18-year-old man was stabbed to death
NEWCASTLE: Police officers search a bin near to Old Eldon Square, where a father was fatally stabbed last night
Police arrested a 17-year-old man yesterday afternoon on suspicion of murder over the Brixton stabbing after he was picked up in nearby Clapham.
The victim was the 16 teenager to be murdered in London this year, and his death became the 91st murder probe opened by the Metropolitan Police.
Peter Duncan, 52, pictured, was stabbed to death last night in Newcastle. Seven teenagers have been arrested in connection with his murder
An eyewitness told how he saw the boy’s mother turn up at the scene as he was receiving treatment.
The bystander told The Sun: ‘She was rushed by police through the cordon to be with him and then collapsed screaming ‘my boy, my boy, my son, my son,’ over and over again.
‘Her screams and wails echoed down the street. People were crying.’
Meanwhile, the family of Newcastle stabbing victim Peter Duncan called him a ‘kind and caring man’ in their first statement released since his death on Wednesday night.
Mr Duncan was attacked outside a Greggs near Old Eldon Square when it was still busy with shoppers. He died later at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.
His family said: ‘[Peter] was a devoted father, husband, son, brother, uncle and friend and loved by all who knew him. His death will leave such a huge hole in our lives and he’ll be deeply missed by us all.
‘Words can’t quite describe what life will be like without him. He had so much of his life left to live and he’ll be in our hearts and thoughts every day.’
Residents gathered at the scene in Brixton after a teenager was knifed to death today
A Home Office contractor is led away after being stabbed by a man outside the department’s central London HQ in another violent incident during the last 24 hours
Mr Duncan was a lawyer and had worked as legal counsel for companies within the offshore industry.
He was most recently employed by Royal IHC Limited based on Grey Street in Newcastle, just a short distance away from where he was murdered.
Prior to that he had worked for almost eight years at DeepOcean UK after studying Law at Northumbria University.
Seven teenagers have been arrested in connection with his murder.
The Home Office attacker’s belongings included a knife in a sheath, mobile phone, and grey backpack and a ferret in a white and green box. The white head of the ferret can be seen poking out of the holding box
Police search an area near Old Eldon Square in Newcastle to look for evidence relating to Mr Duncan’s murder
Yesterday saw another violent incident when a man in his 60s was stabbed in the head outside the Home Office in London by a pony-tailed man dressed in black, who carried with him teargas and a ferret.
The assailant is said to have approached the stab victim, who works for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), outside Home Secretary Priti Patel’s Westminster HQ.
He is thought to have asked the contractor if he was a government employee before attacking him – prompting armed officers to lock down the area.
The Met said the incident is ‘not being treated as terrorism-related’, but said officers are ‘still keeping an open mind with regards any possible motive’.
Police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice while on duty
PC Keith Palmer was stabbed in 2017 during the Westminster Bridge attack
Pc Andrew Harper joins a long list of colleagues killed in the line of duty.
A National Police Memorial roll of honour in London lists all the officers who have been killed by criminal acts in the line of duty since 1680.
The roll records more than 1,600 officers who have died while performing vital tasks such as foiling terrorists, quelling rioters and marshalling protests.
Among them was unarmed PC Keith Palmer, who was stabbed in March 2017 by Khalid Masood during the Westminster Bridge terror attack.
Masood’s rampage – in which five people died – was ended when he was shot dead by a minister’s close protection officer. PC Palmer was posthumously awarded the George Medal.
Also listed are the three unarmed Metropolitan Police officers murdered in Shepherd’s Bush by Harry Roberts in 1966.
Detective Sergeant Christopher Head, 30, Detective Constable David Wombwell, 25, and PC Geoffrey Fox, 41, were shot without warning while questioning three suspects in a van.
PC Fiona Bone (left), 32, and PC Nicola Hughes (right), 23, were murdered by Dale Cregan in Greater Manchester in September 2012
In more recent times, PC Gary Toms, 37, was critically injured confronting suspects in Leyton, east London, on April 11 2009.
He died six days later when his life support machine was switched off – 25 years to the day after PC Yvonne Fletcher was shot dead outside the Libyan embassy in London while controlling a crowd of demonstrators.
Her killer has never been brought to justice and film director Michael Winner founded the Police Memorial Trust as a result of her murder.
PC Fiona Bone, 32, and PC Nicola Hughes, 23, were murdered by Dale Cregan in Greater Manchester in September 2012.
PC Ricky Grey was shot in the head by a gunman who then turned the weapon on himself in Shrewsbury in 2007, and PC Sharon Beshenivsky was shot dead when she and a colleague tried to stop armed robbers in Bradford in November 2005.
Another name on the roll is PC Keith Blakelock, a 40-year-old father of three who was set on by a mob and hacked to death with a machete during the Broadwater Farm riots in 1985.
Winston Silcott, along with two other men, was found guilty of his murder but in 1991 their convictions were overturned on appeal because of ‘unsafe’ police evidence.
PC Ian Broadhurst, 34, of West Yorkshire Police, was murdered by David Bieber, 38, in Leeds on Boxing Day 2003. Bieber also shot two of PC Broadhurst’s colleagues.
The American bodybuilder, who was wanted by the FBI for ordering two killings in Florida, was subsequently jailed for life.
Detective Constable Michael Swindells, 44, died after he was knifed in the stomach as he and colleagues conducted a search in Birmingham in May 2004.
Detective Constable Stephen Oake died during a police raid on a flat in Crumpsall, Manchester, in January 2003.
Kamel Bourgass launched a frenzied knife attack on the Special Branch officer as he tried to escape. The Algerian was sentenced to life for his murder.
Det Con Oake’s bravery not only saved the lives of several colleagues but potentially hundreds of people who Bourgass was plotting to kill with the poison ricin.
PC Alison Armitage, 29, was run down by a stolen car in March 2001. She died during an undercover operation in Hollinwood, near Oldham, Greater Manchester. She was run over twice by a driver in a stolen vehicle in the car park of a derelict pub.
In October 1997, Pc Nina Mackay was stabbed to death in a raid in Stratford, east London, by paranoid schizophrenic Magdi Elgizouli.
Police officers also find themselves in danger when they are off duty. Father-of-two PC Ian Dibell, 41, was off work with a hand injury when he was killed near his home in Clacton in July 2012.
He had gone to help a member of the public who had been injured in a gun attack and was shot himself.