The mother of PC Andrew Harper has said she saw her son’s killers “laughing and joking” in court, saying they showed no remorse for their actions.
Debbie Adlam said she “didn’t see any remorse” from the trio who killed her son, during an interview with Good Morning Britain in which she launched her campaign for harsher sentences for people who kill police officers.
She said her son’s killers “were laughing, they were joking, they were chatting to each other, their mics weren’t even switched on and I don’t understand how that’s appropriate.”
Adlam’s campaign is aiming to implement ‘Andrew’s law’ to increase the minimum sentence for killing a police officer to 20 years.
PC Harper died from horrific injuries last year after he tried to stop three teenagers from stealing a quad bike, only for his ankle to be caught in a strap attached to the thieves’ getaway car. He was dragged to his death.
The driver, Henry Long, 19, was sentenced to 16 years in jail, while 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers were handed 13-year sentences.
Adlam, 53, said: “We’ve come to realise that, with the outcome of the trial as it stands, something needs to change.
“He is worth much more than this, and we’ve been thinking for some time that something needs to be brought in to protect our police officers.
“There’s nobody looking out for them, and we aim to change that.”
Adlam added: “We’re looking to bring in a minimum term – 20 years. No parole, no reductions.”
On Tuesday, the Attorney General’s Office confirmed that it has been asked to consider if the jail terms handed to PC Harper’s killers are too lenient.
Currently defendants under the age of 21 receive lower sentences but Adlam believes this should end.
She said: “As far as their age and the reductions go, my personal thoughts are there is no sense whatsoever in being 18 or 19 and getting time off your sentence.
“My gut turns when I think about that because you can change your gender, you can get a mortgage, you can serve in the Army, and the thing that really bugs me is you can be on a jury – yet you are not treated as an adult until you’re 21 in the judicial system.
“That can’t be right.”
PC Harper’s widow, Lissie Harper, has launched her own campaign, backed by the Police Federation of England and Wales, for full-life prison terms for those who kill emergency services workers.
She said: “As a widow of a police officer – a title which I would give everything to not have – I have witnessed first-hand the lenient and insufficient way in which the justice system deals with criminals who take the lives of our emergency workers.
“The people responsible for wreaking utter despair and grief in all of our lives will spend an inadequate amount of time behind bars.
“These men who showed no remorse, no guilt or sorrow for taking such an innocent and heroic life away will find themselves able to live out the rest of their lives free and able to commit more crimes and continue to put people in danger when they are released in a very small number of years.”
Since 2015, the starting point for a judge sentencing an adult over the age of 21 who has been convicted of murdering a police or prison officer is a whole life sentence.
The judge then has to take into account the factors around the case before deciding to pass a life sentence with a minimum jail term or a whole life order.
A Ministry of Justice source told PA that the Justice Secretary will set out his proposals for sentencing reform later this year, adding: “No stone will be left unturned, and we will look at everything from community orders up to sentences for serious violent crime.”