Burglars involved in the death of PC Andrew Harper were ‘raiding a Victorian manor that was being renovated’ and ‘stole a quad bike’ before the officer was killed, sources say.
PC Harper, 28, had been responding to reports of a burglary at the £800,000 Berkshire property before he was ‘dragged along the road’ by a ‘getaway van’ on Thursday.
A lone police officer was keeping guard at the Victorian manor house, which is being renovated by its owner, and a local source told MailOnline that a quad bike had been taken from the property during the ‘raid’.
Detectives investigating the murder of PC Harper today revealed they have been granted an extra 36 hours to question 10 suspects, aged between 13 and 30, who were arrested at the Four Houses Corner caravan park, near Burghfield Common, on suspicion of murder.
Detective Superintendent Ailsa Kent of Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Unit said the post-mortem examination carried out on the body of PC Harper confirmed he had been dragged by a vehicle for a distance along the road, with the cause of death recorded as ‘multiple injuries’.
PC Harper, 28, had been responding to reports of a burglary at the £800,000 Berkshire property (pictured) before he was killed at around 11.30pm on Thursday
The father of PC Andrew Harper (pictured) has said his family are ‘devastated’ following the death of the newlywed police officer
Newlywed PC Andrew Harper had married his fiancée Lissie on July 18, and they were due to go on honeymoon together
Police officers and forensic teams at a travellers’ camp near the scene where PC Andrew Harper was killed on Thursday
‘However, the circumstances as to how Andrew came to be out of his vehicle and then caught under the suspect vehicle, is unknown,’ she said, adding: ‘What we do know is that Andrew and his crewmate were attending a reported burglary in Bradfield Southend [a local village].
‘While responding, the officers located a vehicle that was suspected to be involved in the burglary, in Lambdens Hill.
‘As we stated on Thursday, within an hour of the incident happening, we arrested ten males aged between 13 and 30 years on suspicion of murder.
‘I can confirm the males were arrested from a local authority-run caravan and mobile home site, Four Houses Corner, in Reading Road near Burghfield Common.
‘Earlier today we sought a 36-hour extension to their custody and this was granted at Reading Magistates Court.’
DS Kent added that the police were interviewing the 10 in custody while carrying out house-to-house inquiries, reviewing CCTV footage and carrying out further forensic examinations.
She urged the public not to speculate as to how PC Harper died or who was involved in the incident.
Police are currently focusing their investigation on one vehicle, understood to be a Seat, following the incident shortly after 11pm on August 15.
Police near Reading perform a search of the road where PC Andrew Harper was found shortly before he died. Police are concerned for the safety of the victims of the burglary that murdered PC Andrew Harper was called out to on Thursday before his death
The A4 Bath Road, near the junctions with Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill remained closed as police continued their investigations (pictured: The industrial estate near the road where PC Harper was killed)
A witness revealed that a fellow officer had fought to save PC Harper after he was mown down by a ‘getaway van’ on Thursday night (pictured: The industrial estate near where PC Harper was killed)
Several forensic officers could be seen gathered around what appeared to be a black hatchback car, surrounded by police tape and a floodlight, inside the Four Houses Corner caravan site on Saturday.
A group of mourning officers could be seen gathered around floral tributes reading messages to their fallen colleague. Some could be seen embracing, while one wiped away a tear from their cheek.
One tribute, accompanied by an image of Pc Harper smiling with a friend, said: ‘Harps, I am truly gutted. A great cop, a great man, a great friend.
‘There will always be a part of my heart missing now. RIP mate, love you. Chef, Sarah and Harry.’
Another read: ‘Such a shocking, mindless, horrific act of brutality. This has been impossible for us to get our heads around.
‘PC Harper was a beautiful young soul. A brave man protecting us all and just doing his job.’
Scotland Yard Superintendent pays tribute to murdered PC Andrew Harper on Twitter
In a tweet on Friday, Superintendent Sally Benatar of the Metropolitan Police paid tribute to Harper as a ‘brilliant’ officer who had given her the courage to take positive steps to change her life.
She revealed how PC Harper had been involved in the case of her abusive former husband.
‘PC Harper was the officer in the case when my then husband was arrested for domestic violence in 2016,’ she said.
‘He was on the @ThamesVP response then.
‘He was brilliant & gave me the courage to take steps to change my life. I can’t thank him enough.
‘He was a top officer.’
A witness revealed that a fellow officer had fought to save PC Harper after he was mown down by a ‘getaway van’ on Thursday night, just four weeks after marrying his fiancée Lissie.
The A4 Bath Road, near the junctions with Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill remained closed as police continued their investigations, the detective confirmed.
The revelation comes as the father of PC Harper said his family are ‘devastated’ following his death just four weeks after they celebrated him getting married.
Philip Harper told Sky News ‘we’re in a bad place’, after the officer was hit by a ‘getaway van’ and ‘dragged to his death’ after being called to a burglary on Thursday night near the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire.
It comes as the family today released another image of the young officer, that was taken on his recent wedding day. PC Harper is pictured smiling at the camera in his wedding suit on the steps of the grand venue in Ardington House in Oxfordshire.
PC Harper, 28, was attending a burglary in Sulhamstead, near Reading, before being dragged down the road when he was hit at 11.30pm on Thursday.
The officer and his new wife Lissie Harper were due to go on their honeymoon next week before tragedy struck.
Police arrested 10 men including a 13-year-old boy at various locations within hours of the tragedy. Forensic teams have today been scouring a traveller’s site three miles from the crossroads where PC Harper was killed.
Grieving officers have been laying floral tributes at the scene where their colleague was killed after he was dragged along by a vehicle.
On Saturday morning officers stationed at the scene laid flowers near two tents which had been erected on Ufton Lane, with one describing him as ‘Thames Valley’s finest’.
Another tribute read: ‘A shockingly sad day. We come together as a brotherhood at times like this and hopefully your family can take some comfort from that love and support.’
Scotland Yard Superintendent Sally Benater described him as a ‘top officer’ and revealed how he had been involved in the case of her former abusive husband.
It comes as sources reveal police are concerned for the safety of the victims of the burglary that murdered PC Andrew Harper was called out to.
A police source has revealed their may be safety concerns for the victims of the burglary that murdered PC Andrew Harper (pictured) was called out to on Thursday before his death
Extra security measures are expected to be put in place for the victims, following the tragic death of the newlywed officer who was due to go on his honeymoon next week.
A police source told MailOnline: ‘The safety and well-being of the victims of the burglary may well be an issue if, as it appears to be at this stage, it was the work of an organised criminal gang.’
‘There is likely to be plans in place to protect the burglary victims and ensure they are not intimidated or threatened by friends or associates’ of the culprits.
A forensics team continued to scour a nearby traveller’s site for evidence on Saturday. The A4 was partially closed again today while looking for clues.
Calls from PC Harper’s family for stiffer sentences given to thugs who attack emergency services personnel were backed by the Police Federation of England and Wales.
Simon Kempton, the rank-and-file union’s operational policing unit, said: ‘An assault on a police officer is an assault on society.
‘The sentences handed down by the courts need to reflect this because even a minor assault on an officer emboldens the criminal so next time they go a step further.
‘In the last week we have seen one officer murdered and another two only narrowly avoid death after serious assaults. It needs to stop.’
Forensic teams are scouring a traveller’s site near where a police officer was ‘fatally dragged beneath a van’ before ‘being struck by another vehicle’.
The police search at Four Houses Corner caravan site has been ongoing since his death.
The site has been on lockdown since yesterday evening with no entry permitted by authorities, after 10 men aged 30 to 13 were arrested at various locations soon afterwards.
One resident told MailOnline: ‘The A4 closed again in both directions. There are helicopters everywhere again. They’ve obviously found something. I’m in the middle of chaos.’
Forensic teams are scouring a traveller site near where a police officer was fatally dragged beneath a van before being struck by another vehicle
PC Andrew Harper, 28, was attending a burglary in Sulhamstead, near Reading, before being dragged down the road when he was hit by a Seat ‘getaway’ van at 11.30pm on Thursday
Thames Valley Police issued a statement earlier today to inform the public that the A4 Bath Road would be closed at 11.45am between the junctions of Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill, near to Sulhamstead.
A spokesman said: ‘The road is to be closed to allow police searches to be carried out in connection with the murder investigation into the death of PC Andrew Harper.
‘It is expected that the road will be closed for approximately one hour, however this could change depending on the progress of the searches.’
Diversions have been put in place but motorists were advised to avoid the area while the searches were ongoing.
The spokesman added: ‘We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but the searches are vital to our ongoing murder investigation.’
The full details of how PC Andrew Harper died, while responding to reports of a burglary, are not yet known.
Tyre marks on the A4 marked the spot where the 28-year-old had been dragged along the road.
A witness said he heard a fellow officer yelling: ‘Stay with me, stay with me, keep breathing,’ as the officer lay fatally injured in the road.
Forensic officers search the site. The police search at Four Houses Corner caravan site has been ongoing since the death of PC Harper yesterday
The site has been on lockdown since yesterday evening with no entry permitted by authorities, according to The Sun
Forensic officers search the site. A man who lives near the site told the publication: ‘I was woken up last night by the sound of a helicopter, it was hovering until past 1am
The newlywed officer, who married fiancée Lissie four weeks ago, was thrown from the vehicle’s undercarriage before being struck by a police vehicle thought to have been part of a dog unit taking part in the pursuit, The Times reported.
Ten people – including a boy of 13 – have been arrested after what Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as a ‘mindless and brutal’ crime.
Two cars remain on the scene on Saturday, however it is unclear whether the vehicles form part of the investigation.
Police were unable to confirm to MailOnline on Saturday morning whether the van understood to have struck PC Harper has been located.
Forensic officers search the site. Ten people – including a boy of 13 – have been arrested after what Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as a ‘mindless and brutal’ crime
Yesterday officers were seen attending a nearby Travellers’ site near Burghfield, where inquiries were carried out in relation to the incident
Yesterday officers were seen attending the nearby Travellers’ site near Burghfield, where inquiries were carried out in relation to the incident.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which investigates when someone is hit by a police vehicle, has not yet opened an inquiry by an agreement with the force, it was reported.
Four weeks ago, PC Harper was posing for pictures on his wedding day, and cut the cake with new wife Lissie next to a sign reading ‘Happily Ever Harper’.
But yesterday it emerged the 28-year-old officer was the latest victim of Wild West Britain when he was mown down and ‘dragged along by a vehicle’ while responding to a burglary in Berkshire.
PC Harper was allegedly struck by a car in Berkshire and dragged under it for a distance
The incident at 11.30pm yesterday took place next to the 12-bedroom Braeburn Lodge care home for the elderly (pictured: PC Andrew Harper)
Members of the public pass on flowers to a police officer this morning after PC Harper was dragged beneath a van
Police officers at the scene yesterday in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, after a detective was killed
MPs from all parties were united in their condemnation of the murder, describing it as ‘sickening’ and saying police officers had been left ‘dangerously exposed’
Flowers have been left at the scene where PC Harper was killed on Thursday as two tents remain at the side of the road today
Last night, just over two miles from the crime scene, police were searching a travellers’ site, strewn with litter and children’s toys.
PC Harper’s death triggered a fresh debate over the level of serious crime on Britain’s streets. Only yesterday, Richard Atkins QC, the chairman of the Bar Council, warned that criminals were ‘going about their business unchallenged’.
MPs from all parties were united in their condemnation of the murder, describing it as ‘sickening’ and saying police officers had been left ‘dangerously exposed’.
Flowers are laid yesterday near to where Thames Valley Police office Andrew Harper was killed
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
Home Secretary Priti Patel, who declared last month that she wanted to see criminals ‘feel terror’ on the streets, said she was ‘devastated and appalled’ by PC Harper’s murder.
Mr Johnson, who has pledged to hire another 20,000 police officers to get a grip of the problem, said he was ‘shocked and appalled’ and admitted ‘we are seeing too much violent crime on our streets’.
PC Harper’s devastated family described the officer – a ‘highly regarded’ member of Thames Valley Police – as ‘the loveliest person that you will ever meet’.
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
Police attended a traveller site near Burghfield Common, 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
PC Harper, who became a regular officer in 2011 after joining as a special constable a year earlier, had attended the reported break-in near the village of Sulhamstead with a colleague at 11.30pm on Thursday night.
While it is unclear exactly what happened or what was being targeted in the burglary, PC Harper was injured on a lane just off the A4 Bath Road between Reading and Newbury – a crossroads next to the 12-bedroom Braeburn Lodge care home.
At an emotional press conference, Chief Constable John Campbell said officers were working ‘hard and diligently to find out what happened’. He said: ‘What we do know is Andrew had been dragged along by a vehicle’, adding that all ten suspects had been arrested within an hour of the incident.
Pictured: Officers lay flowers at the scene where PC Andrew Harper was killed in Berkshire
PC Harper is pictured with his mother Deborah. He has been praised by his relatives
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
A resident in nearby Burghfield said a police helicopter hovered over a travellers’ site from midnight until about 4am yesterday.
PC Harper married Lissie, also 28, in Oxfordshire on July 18 in the grounds of Ardington House, a listed stately home built in 1720.
Mrs Harper posted wedding pictures online and said the couple ‘could not have asked for more’. She added: ‘The sun was shining and the venue was incredible.’
PC Harper’s uncle Dale Shrimpton, 56, said: ‘We are devastated. He was the loveliest person that you will ever meet. I can’t begin to tell you how we feel. We all loved him very much. He didn’t have a bad bone in his body.’
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
A police investigator at the scene of the incident after the officer was killed in Sulhamstead
Met Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar wrote on Twitter: ‘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 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.’
PC Harper’s death comes after PC Stuart Outten was stabbed in the head in Leyton, east London, on August 8. Days later a 42-year-old West Midlands Police officer suffered serious injuries when he was run over with his own vehicle.
Mr Johnson said: ‘The murder of PC Andrew Harper is a mindless and brutal crime and obviously all our thoughts are with his family, his friends and his colleagues.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he was ‘deeply shocked and appalled’ by the death of PC Harper, adding that his thought’s were with his family, friends and colleagues
‘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,’ he said
‘When I think of the bravery that PC Andrew Harper showed in intercepting those criminals, I think of the risks that the police run every day to keep us safe.’
He added: ‘This is a very rare occurrence, it is an absolute tragedy that a police officer should lose his life in the course of his duties and of course we will do everything we can to keep our officers safe.’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the death highlighted the need for a boost to police numbers. He added: ‘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.’
Home affairs committee chairman Yvette Cooper said: ‘Police officers like PC Harper demonstrate extraordinary bravery every day, and his death is a tragic reminder of the immense sacrifices made to keep us safe.’
‘Stay with me…keep breathing’: Colleague reveals he desperately tried to save murdered PC, 28, who was ‘dragged to his death’ by car at scene of burglary
By Jemma Buckley, Michael Bedigan and Andy Dolan for the Daily Mail and Henry Martin for MailOnline
A colleague of the newlywed police officer who was killed while responding to reports of a burglary begged the fallen officer to ‘stay with me, keep breathing’ as he lay dying in a country lane.
A witness told of the heartbreaking scenes as fellow officers fought to save PC Andrew Harper, 28, after he was mown down by a ‘getaway car’ on Thursday night, just four weeks after he married his fiancée Lissie.
The householder, who asked not to be named, came out of his home at around 11.30pm on Thursday after hearing a commotion in a lane off the A4 near Reading.
As police worked inside forensic tents near the property yesterday, the witness said: ‘When I came outside I could see one patrol car facing the A4 and the other facing in the other direction. The officer’s crewmate was shouting, saying ‘Stay with me, stay with me. Keep breathing.’ Those words will stay with me.
‘He was crouched over the officer’s body, which was lying on the lane.
Pictured: Police officers at a travellers’ camp near the scene where PC Harper was killed
‘Ambulances and more police cars arrived – it was like the Blackpool illuminations. I went out into the lane to see if the police needed any help and an officer turned to me and said: ‘Leave the area – this is a crime scene.’
Asked if there was a police pursuit in the run-up to PC Harper being hit by the vehicle, Thames Valley Police Chief Constable John Campbell said only that his fallen officer had been involved in a ‘response to a reported burglary’.
The senior officer said PC Harper was a ‘highly regarded, popular member of the team’ who was known across the force.
He said the traffic officer – based at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, around 30 miles from where the incident happened – had been outside his marked patrol car when he was ‘dragged along by a vehicle’, in what was ‘obviously a very distressing’ incident for the colleagues who witnessed it.
Mr Campbell said it had been ‘an extremely dark day’ for his force – and said the fact PC Harper had only been married four weeks added to the force’s ‘angst’ and to that of PC Harper’s family.
He declined to say whether the vehicle which hit PC Harper, who joined the force as a special constable in 2010 and became a police officer a year later, was stolen.
Police remained at the scene today, which was still cordoned off while evidence was gathered (pictured: PC Harper with a friend)
The force’s flags were flying at half-mast as a sign of respect ‘in honour and memory of Andrew’, he said, adding: ‘The officer was well-known across the force so it is felt very personally… by the whole police family.’
The incident took place at the crossroads of Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill, near the village of Sulhamstead – close to Bucklebury where the Duchess of Cambridge’s parents Carole and Michael Middleton live.
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.’
Andy Fiddler, from the Thames Valley Police Federation, added: ‘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.’
Last night, Anthony Stansfeld, Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ‘I speak for everybody at Thames Valley Police when I say that I am deeply shocked and saddened by the death of PC Andrew Harper while on duty. He was a young officer, only recently married, and looking forward to a long and successful career.
‘Today, assaults on police officers have become far too common. I am concerned that attacks on police officers are no longer regarded within some communities with the same level of seriousness as they were previously.
‘In the past, most criminals were careful not to attack a police officer. But as sentences across the board have become more lenient, so the number of assaults increased. There would seem to be a clear correlation.
‘The tragic death of PC Harper is a wake up call for our criminal justice system. That it happened is a sad reflection on society today.
‘The majority of the public are law-abiding, but we have a small hardcore who cause a totally disproportionate amount of crime. I hope that this can now be addressed.
‘It is not as if this problem has come as a surprise. It must now be dealt with.’
The Independent Office for Police Conduct said it had been made aware of the officer’s death, due to possible issues around a police pursuit, but is not investigating.
‘Life is slippery…take my hand’: The poignant wedding day message between widow and murdered police officer, 28, is revealed after he was dragged under a vehicle to his death at scene of burglary just four weeks later
By Jack Elsom, Mark Duell and Martin Robinson for MailOnline
The recently married police officer who was murdered on a call-out gave his bride a heart-melting message as the couple prepared to begin a life together, it has been revealed.
PC Andrew Harper, 28, sent his love Lissie Beckett a touching card which read ‘Life is slippery. Here, take my hand’ on their wedding day just four weeks ago.
But just days before the newlyweds were due to go on their honeymoon, the officer was tragically killed last night in Sulhamstead, Berkshire.
He was allegedly struck by a car and dragged under it for a distance, before being hit by another vehicle.
The tragic officer gave his bride a touching card which read ‘Life is slippery. Here, take my hand’ on their wedding day just four weeks ago
Police at the scene as a man lays a bunch of flowers near where the officer was killed
PC Harper’s death has sparked an outpouring of affection with relatives saying they were left ‘devastated’ by his death but added that they were ‘so proud of him’.
Chief Constable John Campbell said PC Harper was at the scene with a fellow officer and was out of his police car when the incident occurred, adding: ‘What we do know is Andrew had been dragged along by a vehicle.’
He said the suspects were detained within about an hour of the incident and officers are working ‘hard and diligently to find out what happened’.
A post-mortem examination is taking place to establish the cause of death.
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.
Police officers at the scene on the crossroads of Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill in Sulhamstead
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.