UK

PC Andrew Harper: Hundreds of mourners attend funeral

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Media captionPC Andrew Harper’s coffin was draped in a police flag

Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of a police officer who was killed while on duty.

Uniformed colleagues of PC Andrew Harper lined the route as the cortege made its way to the private service at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford.

The newlywed 28-year-old died from multiple injuries when he was dragged under a vehicle on a road near Sulhamstead, Berkshire, on 15 August.

Thames Valley Police Federation’s chairman said PC Harper was “a hero”.

Paying tribute to PC Harper, who married his wife Lissie four weeks before his death, Craig O’Leary said he “loved being a police officer”.

“It is our sad duty today to pay our last respects to him and support his wife Lissie, his family and his friends at his funeral,” he added.

Members of the public paid their respects as the cortege led by mounted officers travelled through Oxford before the service, which was attended by 800 mourners.

The coffin was draped in a navy flag with a police crest on the side and was carried into the cathedral at 11:00 BST by six officers in full uniform.

Leading the service, the Dean of Christ Church the Very Rev Dr Martyn Percy said: “The tributes that have poured in for Andrew exemplify a truly outstanding young man, but also the very best virtues in policing.

“He represented policing at its best. He was everything you wanted in a police officer. Authentic, brave, genuine, and kind.”

Mrs Harper placed her husband’s police hat on his coffin and paid an emotional tribute to him during the hour-long service.

At the scene

By BBC News correspondent Helena Wilkinson in Oxford

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Officers lined the streets as the cortege travelled through Oxford

PC Harper had married his childhood sweetheart Lissie just 28 days before he died.

Today she, with other family and friends, came to Christ Church Cathedral to say their final goodbye.

People who didn’t know him came out to pay their respects. Hundreds of officers from PC Harper’s force also lined the route. Many looked as young as he was.

As the hearse led by officers on horseback passed silence fell. Officers bowed their heads. Some people in the crowds began to cry.

Through the glass of the hearse PC Harper’s coffin could be seen draped in a Thames Valley Police flag.

A young officer who died while doing his job. A hero to so many.

PC Harper, from Wallingford in Oxfordshire, was killed on the A4 Bath Road while investigating a reported break-in.

Mrs Harper said her husband was the “kindest, loveliest, most selfless person you will ever meet”.

Thames Valley Police said its flags would be flying at half-mast as a mark of respect to PC Harper.

It added on Twitter: “Today is going to be a tough day for all our officers, staff and volunteers as we pay tribute to our fallen colleague.”

The Plain, Magdalen Bridge, High Street and St Aldate’s were shut between 08:00 and 12:30 ahead of the funeral service.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption PC Andrew Harper had married his wife Lissie four weeks before his death

Three teenagers remain in custody charged with murdering PC Harper.

Henry Long, 18, from Mortimer in Reading, and two 17-year-old boys, who cannot be named because of their age, are accused of murder and conspiracy to steal a quad bike.

Thomas King, 21, from Basingstoke, is also accused of conspiracy to steal a quad bike.

Jed Foster was also accused of murder but prosecutors dropped his charges following further police investigation.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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