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Pc Andrew Harper murder trial suspended over coronavirus

Six-week trial postponed while "appropriate precautions" put in place

John Herring

John Herring


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Police officer killed in West Berkshire died of 'multiple injuries'

PC Andrew Harper

A trial into the death of a police officer killed in West Berkshire has been suspended because of coronavirus restrictions. 

The trial into the death of Pc Andrew Harper being heard at the Old Bailey was put off this morning (Monday) after three jurors went into self-isolation. 

The suspension follows all jury trials in England and Wales being postponed. 

Pc Harper died from injuries sustained from being dragged for more than a mile by his ankles after becoming entangled in a strap attached to a vehicle. 

The vehicle, driven by 18-year-old Henry Long, had been involved in a burglary in Bradfield Southend, which Pc Harper and his colleague were responding to on the night of August 15 last year.

The trial into Pc Harper's death began on Monday, March 9 and the court heard that the 28-year-old officer sustained unsurvivable injuries. But jurors heard that Pc Harper was likely to have been unconscious throughout. 

Long, from Mortimer, denies murder but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and conspiracy to steal a quadbike.

Two 17-year-olds, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are also on trial. They deny murder and manslaughter but have admitted conspiracy to steal.

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett said: "As the Prime Minister has been telling the country, the spread of Covid-19 has continued to accelerate.

"The clear message from Government is to take all precautions to avoid unnecessary contact. A review of the arrangements in our courts is called for.

"I have decided that we need to pause jury trials for a short time to enable appropriate precautions to be put in place."

The case has been adjourned and will be subject to a re-trial.