British policeman dragged behind vehicle before he died

Ten arrested after officer (28) killed when responding to burglary in Berkshire

PC Andrew Harper and his wife, Lissie, celebrating their wedding four weeks ago at Ardington House in Oxfordshire. Photograph: Mark Lord Photography/PA

PC Andrew Harper and his wife, Lissie, celebrating their wedding four weeks ago at Ardington House in Oxfordshire. Photograph: Mark Lord Photography/PA

 

A British police officer killed on Thursday while attending reports of a burglary in Berkshire was dragged along by a vehicle before he died.

Ten people have been arrested on suspicion of murder after PC Andrew Harper (28) died following a “serious incident” at around 11.30pm on Thursday near the A4 Bath Road, between Reading and Newbury, at the village of Sulhamstead.

Thames Valley Police said boys and men aged between 13 and 30 remained in custody at various police stations in the force area.

At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Chief Constable John Campbell said Mr 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 were working “hard and diligently to find out what happened”.

A postmortem examination is taking place to establish the cause of death.

Mr Campbell said that as it was a live investigation, only limited details could be provided at this stage.

He said Mr Harper joined as a special constable in 2010 before becoming a police officer a year later, serving in the Roads Policing Proactive Unit based at Abingdon police station.

He added that the officer “only married four weeks ago”.

Pictures show the pair celebrating their wedding at Ardington House, a Georgian manor in Oxfordshire set in gardens and parkland.

Mr Campbell said Mr Harper was a “highly regarded, popular member of the team”.

He said the force’s flags were flying at half mast as a sign of respect “in honour and memory of Andrew”.

The incident occurred at the crossroads of Ufton Lane and Lambdens Hill, near to the village of Sulhamstead.

The scene of the incident was cordoned off while evidence was gathered.

The police scene where police officer Andrew Harper was killed in Berkshire. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA
The police scene where police officer Andrew Harper was killed in Berkshire. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

On Friday, forensic investigators could be seen gathering items that lay on the road and taking photographs. Two white tents have also been erected.

Police were also seen searching the inside of a grey BMW that was at the scene, according to witnesses.

Pictures of the scene show a blood trail on the road leading across the junction.

Police officers laid two bunches of flowers inside the cordon, while other officers guarded the perimeter.

Mr Harper is the first officer to be killed on duty since March 2017, when unarmed PC Keith Palmer was stabbed by Khalid Masood during the Westminster Bridge terror attack.

British prime minister Boris Johnson branded it a “mindless and brutal” crime, saying he was “shocked and appalled” by the attack.

Mr Johnson’s comments followed his pledge to hire 20,000 more police officers and an announcement of a range of investments to boost the criminal justice system. He also vowed to see violent offenders locked up for longer as a result of an “urgent review” of sentencing laws.

Richard Benyon, Conservative MP for Newbury, told the PA news agency it was an “absolute tragedy” and he hoped “those responsible will be brought to justice.”

Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to call police on 101. – PA