The government is to introduce mandatory life sentences for offenders whose crimes lead to the death of an emergency service worker in the line of duty.
It comes under a new law brought about after the death of PC Andrew Harper.
The new legislation – which is to be named ‘Harper’s Law’ – will be introduced as soon as possible, and follows the tireless campaigning of PC Andrew Harper’s family, and his widow Lissie Harper, who were prompted to take action after the 28-year-old was killed while responding to a call about a stolen quad bike in Berkshire on 15 August 2019.
Lissie had previously said she was “outraged” by the length of sentences handed to the three teenagers responsible for his death.
PC Harper – who worked as a traffic officer in the Thames Valley Police – was caught up in a rope by 19-year-old Henry Long and his two 18-year-old passengers Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers had been using to tow the bike and dragged to his death when they tried to drive away from police.
Long was jailed for 16 years, and Cole and Bowers were each jailed for 13 years in July for the manslaughter of PC Harper.
All three were cleared of PC Harper’s murder by the same jury – which deliberated for more than 12 hours – but an appeal by the Attorney General to increase their time behind bars was rejected.
‘Harper’s Law’ will make it on to the statute books through an amendment to the existing police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, and will extend mandatory life sentences to anyone who commits the manslaughter of an emergency worker on duty – including police, prison officers, firefighters and paramedics – while carrying out another crime, unless there are truly exceptional circumstances.
The legislation is likely to take effect early next year.
Announcing the intended law change, the Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “We are going to pass into law mandatory life sentences for those who unlawfully kill an emergency worker in the course of their duty.
“I pay tribute to Lissie Harper’s remarkable campaign.
“This government is on the side of victims and their families and we want our emergency services to know that we’ll always have their back.”
Lissie Harper said: “Emergency services workers require extra protection. I know all too well how they are put at risk and into the depths of danger on a regular basis on behalf of society. That protection is what Harper’s Law will provide and I am delighted that it will soon become a reality.
“It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work. I know Andrew would be proud to see Harper’s Law reach this important milestone.”
The courts already have to impose life sentences for murder, although such sentences can also be applied to other violent offences.
The time spent in prison under a mandatory life sentence is decided by a judge.
Featured Image – Facebook / Thames Valley Police
Police appeal for information regarding ‘serious assault’ around Old Trafford before United game in October
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are appealing for fresh information on a “serious assault” committed around the Old Trafford area earlier this year.
GMP issued a press release on Friday, 9 December, asking for members of the public to come forward and share any details they might have on the attack carried along Seymour Grove in Trafford around 1:30pm on 16 October 2022.
They go on to explain that “a man in his 20s was assaulted by a group of unknown males” on the way to the game at Old Trafford, adding that “it is believed that the suspects were also attending the Manchester United vs Newcastle United match.”
It remains unclear whether or not the assailants were travelling fans in town to support the away side but GMP are looking to speak to the men pictured as they may be able to help with enquiries.
As detailed in the statement, “the victim suffered a severely broken jaw, a broken nose, numerous cuts to the face, and damage to the nerves of four teeth which he is likely to need further medical treatment for.” Terrible stuff.
The authorities are continuing to investigate the Seymour Grove assault after having followed up on a number of lines of enquiry since the incident took place and are now asking for the public’s help.
Anyone with information, or anyone who may have footage/images, or can identify the men in the photos, can contact Greater Manchester Police on 101, quoting log number 1589 on 16/10/22; or, alternatively use the Live Chat service HERE.
Alternatively, information can be shared anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Featured Image — Greater Manchester Police/David Dixon (via Geograph)
Football fans call out ‘tone-deaf’ FA TikTok for mocking ‘life-threatening’ head injury
Football fans are calling out the official FA Cup TikTok account for mocking a serious head injury suffered by a Stockport County player earlier this week.
The Hatters beat Charlton Athletic in fine fashion with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, 7 December, with Will Collar’s hattrick (the club’s first since 2019) sending them through to the next round of the cup.
However, another notable moment from the night was right back Macauley Southam-Hales’ collision with advertising hoarders after a shove from Charlton captain George Dobson.
As the likes of County fan Joel Ward wrote on Twitter, many online were quick to slam the clip for joking about an injury that hospitalised the player, the consensus being that it isn’t a “great look” for the FA.
While many reacting in the comments recognised that Dobson didn’t intend to hurt Southam-Hales by shepherding the ball out of play, the Stockport defender does hit the predominantly metal structure with some force and was left in clear discomfort following the smash.
The video itself has since been removed from the official account following the backlash but people are still reacting as the clip continues to be reshared on social media.
The clip was branded as everything from “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to “simply unbelievable”.
What’s most concerning is that despite the recent push to promote awareness surrounding concussions, brain trauma and even heading the ball – which, historically, haven’t been properly monitored in football – whoever posted the video on behalf of the FA didn’t consider the very serious nature of the incident.
As alluded to above, perhaps what makes the post even more shocking and tone-deaf is that it comes just weeks after Bath City player forward Alex Fletcher was placed in intensive care following an almost identical accident.
The 23-year-old underwent life-saving brain surgery and although he has since been discharged from the hospital, he is said to have a “long road to recovery ahead of him”.
County confirmed that despite being the all-clear pitchside, Southam-Hales was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he suffered significant swelling around the neck area. Nevertheless, as we know all too well, it could have been much worse.
As for the FA, they have now apologised for the inappropriate attempt at humour, confirming that they have removed the video from all official accounts, admitting that “it should never have been published and assuring that they will “review [their] processes to ensure this never happens again.”
You can watch the full highlights from Stockport County vs Charlton Athletic HERE but we’d recommend you watch Alan Shearer reminding everyone who plays football to be more vigilant when it comes to head injuries.