PC ANDREW Harper’s killers were seen on CCTV cruising around for something to steal before dragging the cop to his death.
The three teen thugs were today cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter at the Old Bailey.
This CCTV image show Henry Long, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers driving around looking for something to steal [/caption]
The red circle shows the SEAT Toledo driving through a residential street[/caption]
From the left: Long, Cole and Bowers were today cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter at the Old Bailey[/caption]
Henry Long, 19, killed the hero cop with pals Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, both 18, by dragging him behind their car as PC Harper tried to stop the three of them stealing a quad bike.
The court heard a car driven by Long at “breakneck speed” swung PC Harper “like a pendulum” along a country lane, as he apprehended the teen gang during a botched robbery near Reading, Berks.
Hours before, Long was seen driving the SEAT Toledo on CCTV with Bowers and Cole looking for things to steal.
Jurors were told how the teens had tried to steal the £10,000 bike from the home of Peter Wallis in remote Bradfield Southend, when they were apprehended by PC Harper.
The gang had cased the property earlier in the day and later returned masked and armed with an axe, crowbars and a length of pipe to use against anyone in their way.
Ringleader of the teen gang Long was revealed to be career criminal who was taken out of school aged 12 by his father after he got into trouble with teachers.
Unable to read and write, like his co-defendants, Long followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and began thieving.
Specialising in stealing quad-bikes and machinery, Long always carried tools for breaking into sheds, and snapping metal chains and padlocks.
He has four convictions for five offences of assault and battery, public order and being drunk and disorderly. He has two cautions for shoplifting.
The career thief had a reputation among travellers as a good driver able to steer vehicles at high speeds.
On the evening of August 15, PC Harper and his colleagues came across the gang driving towards them on narrow Admoor Lane.
Cole unhitched the bike and dived through a passenger window to escape the hero cop who had got out of the unmarked BMW police car.
But PC Harper’s ankles then got caught in the tow rope attached to the suspects’ getaway car as they drove off.
He was dragged along the stretch of road at 60mph by the SEAT in horrendous circumstances.
The court heard that the officer – who was responding to the reported theft four hours after the end of his shift on August 15 last year – would have been rendered unconscious almost immediately and was unable to free himself.
Long, Cole and Bowers watched the verdict via videolink after the jury had deliberated for almost two days.
They are now facing substantially shorter jail sentences after being convicted of the lesser charge.
The heartless thugs smirked and laughed as his horrific injuries were read out to jurors.
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While Bowers was so bored during the trial he fell asleep as the prosecutor showed jurors video footage of the Thames Valley Police officer being dragged to his death.
PC Harper’s tearful widow Lissie was comforted by other family members in court as the verdicts were delivered.
Mr Justice Edis adjourned sentence until next Friday.