Police have arrested a 21-year-old man and re-arrested three teenagers in a murder probe into the death of PC Andrew Harper, pictured on his wedding day earlier this year with widow Lissie
Police have arrested a 21-year-old man and re-arrested three teenagers in a murder probe into the death of PC Andrew Harper today.
Thames Valley Police said a series of warrants were carried out by more than 100 officers in Berkshire and Hampshire on Tuesday, following the officer’s death last month while responding to reports of a burglary.
The newlywed officer, 28, was ‘dragged to his death by a getaway van’ on the A4 in Berkshire and died of ‘multiple injuries’.
Three teenagers, one aged 18 and two aged 17, were arrested in August and bailed, but Thames Valley Police confirmed they have been re-arrested today along with the 21-year-old, who was previously not part of the investigation.
A statement said: ‘The three people, who are all male, were originally arrested on Friday, 16 August.
‘They were then released on bail until Thursday, 12 September, and were then re-bailed until 16 November.
‘They are an 18-year-old man and two 17-year-old boys, all from the Reading area.
‘Today, they have been re-arrested along with a 21-year-old man from Basingstoke, who has been arrested for the first time in connection with this investigation. They are all currently in police custody.’
Detective Superintendent Ailsa Kent, of the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit, said: ‘We are continuing to investigate the death of our colleague PC Andrew Harper, and today we have re-arrested three people in connection with this.
‘In addition to these re-arrests, we have also arrested a further suspect, a 21-year-old man from Basingstoke.
‘All four have been arrested on suspicion of murder and theft and are in our custody.
‘This follows new evidence coming to light as the investigation has progressed in recent weeks.
‘Members of the public might see an increased police presence at the locations of these warrants today.
‘We appreciate the public’s patience and support while we progress these critical lines of inquiry.
Widow Lissie, pictured with PC Harper, described him as the ‘kindest, loveliest, most selfless person you will ever meet’
Floral tributes were left at the scene in Berkshire where PC Harper died in August after responding to a burglary
‘This is an ongoing, complex investigation, and we remain committed to achieving justice for PC Harper, his family, friends and colleagues.
‘I would also like to reiterate our appeal for anyone who knows anything about this incident to come forward and talk to police, if you have not already done so.
‘Anyone with any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, should call the Thames Valley Police non-emergency number on 101.’
Another man, 20-year-old Jed Foster, has already appeared in court having been charged with murder and was remanded in custody until another hearing in November.
PC Harper was hit while responding to a raid at a Victorian country house in the village of Bradfield Southend, near Reading.
It prompted outrage as well as support for his family, including widow Lissie.
He was honoured by his family and police forces around the country with a minute’s silence in August.
In a tribute after his death, widow Lissie Harper, said her husband was ‘the kindest, loveliest, most selfless person you will ever meet.
‘You were brave, funny, and always there for anyone who needed it.’
PC Harper joined Thames Valley Police as a special constable in 2010 before becoming a police officer a year later, serving in the Roads Policing Proactive Unit based at Abingdon.
Thames Valley Chief Constable John Campbell said Pc Harper was a ‘highly regarded, popular member of the team.’
Mrs Harper added that her husband loved being a police officer and ‘always wanted to keep everyone safe, especially me’.
She said: ‘You went the extra mile whenever you could and genuinely cared for everyone.
‘The lights have dimmed on all of our lives now that you are no longer here, but it’s no surprise that, even when you’re gone, you’re still keeping us all going, knowing that you would tell us to carry on and stay strong.’
She also thanked the public for the ‘overwhelming’ support shown to her and Pc Harper’s family after his death.
PC Andrew Harper with his wife Lissie (centre) and (left to right) his sister Aimee, father Phil, stepmother Karen and brother Sean
PC Harper’s family joined his colleagues to remember him at the Thames Valley Police Training Centre in Sulhamstead last month