PC Andrew Harper's 'ribs exposed and half his face ripped off after burglars dragged him behind car like rag doll'

A POLICE officer suffered "utterly catastrophic injuries" and died after he was thrown "like a rag doll" while being dragged along behind a car, a court heard today.

Pc Andrew Harper's ribs were exposed and half of his face torn off as burglars dragged him along for a mile behind a SEAT Toledo using a crane strap on August 15 last year.

Jurors were today shown video from a police helicopter above a nearby travellers' camp site where the suspects' Seat was found after the cop's death.

Pc Harper was responding to the reported theft of a £10,000 quad bike from a home near the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire.

One witness who saw him being dragged along the country lane, Jack Whittenham, mistakenly thought he had seen an injured deer.

Another officer described seeing Pc Harper’s “utterly catastrophic injuries” and said his “skin had been abraded down his ribs”.


He also said the “lower part of his face had gone”.

The prosecution says the defendants Henry Long, 18, and his two 17-year-old accomplices, who cannot be named for legal reasons, must have realised the officer was being dragged behind them.

Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey: "It was Mr Whittenham who thought it was a bloodied deer attached to the car.

“But he quickly realised it was someone trapped by both ankles with arms flailing around, as he described it, like a rag doll, being dragged around the road.

"He saw the whole body striking the kerb on the other side of the road."

Pc Andrew Harper suffered "catastrophic injuries" after being dragged behind a car along a country road, jurors were told.

He had sustained utterly catastrophic injuries. His skin had been abraded down to his ribs. The whole lower part of his face had gone.

Mr Altman QC said the 28-year-old officer was found completely naked, and was only wearing boots and socks.

He said: "He had sustained utterly catastrophic injuries. His skin had been abraded down to his ribs. The whole lower part of his face had gone."

The court heard another officer, PC Christopher Bushnell, gave chase in a Mitsubishi Outlander.

PC Bushnell said he saw the SEAT crossing the A4 and also thought the car was towing a deer carcass because 'it was such a bloodied mess like a slop.'

Mr Altman QC added: "He recalled all of a sudden seeing a flailing arm and a head that was arched back as if someone was doing back stroke and coming directly towards him out of the exhaust smoke.


"He recalled seeing a face, but it was not a face, because he said and recalled there was something missing.

"He remembered seeing teeth but no lips covering them. He heard a bang, and he thought he might have screamed due to the shock of what he had just seen.

"But he did not see what his car had struck. He remembered saying the word 'body' out loud but did not know whether this was transmitted."

Even though Pc Harper was breathing when he was found in the road, his injuries were unsurvivable and he was pronounced dead at the scene at 11.45pm on August 15 last year.

Yesterday, the court was told that the defendants set off to steal the quad bike from a nearby travellers' camp armed with crowbars.

Henry Long, 18, from Reading, and two 17-year-olds, who cannot be named for legal reasons, all deny murdering the Thames Valley Police officer in August last year.

They all admit conspiring to steal the quadbike and Long has admitted the manslaughter of Pc Harper, which the younger boys deny.

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