Grieving officers lay floral tributes for killed newlywed colleague

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Grieving officers have laid floral tributes at the scene where a newlywed police officer died after he was dragged along by a vehicle.

Pc Andrew Harper, 28, died following a “serious incident” at about 11.30pm on Thursday near the A4 Bath Road, between Reading and Newbury, at the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire.

Thames Valley Police said 10 boys and men aged between 13 and 30 have been arrested on suspicion of murder and are in custody at various police stations in the force area.

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”.

Pc Andrew Harper and his wife, Lissie
Pc Andrew Harper and his wife, Lissie, celebrating their wedding four weeks ago (Mark Lord/PA)

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”.

Police officer killed in Sulhamsted
A message from officers of the Thames Valley Police armed response vehicles unit on a floral tribute at the scene (Ben Birchall/PA)

A post-mortem examination is taking place to establish the cause of death.

One witness, who did not want to be named, told the Daily Mail that Pc Harper’s colleague was crouched over his body which was lying on the lane.

Mr Campbell said that Pc 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”, and pictures show Pc Harper and his new wife Lissie celebrating their wedding at the award-winning stately venue Ardington House, a Georgian manor in Oxfordshire set in gardens and parkland.

Relatives described the day as a “dream wedding”.

Map shows area where incident occurred
(PA Graphics)

Mr Campbell extended his thanks to the officers and other emergency services who attended the incident for their support and professionalism at what was an “obviously distressing scene”.

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

Police officer killed in Sulhamsted
Police at a caravan site near Burghfield Common in Berkshire (Ben Birchall/PA)

On Friday, forensic investigators could be seen gathering items that lay on the road and taking photographs, and two white tents were erected.

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

Images which capture the aftermath of the incident show a blood trail on the road leading across the junction.

On Friday and Saturday there was also a police presence at a caravan site near Burghfield Common, not far from where the incident took place.

Pc 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.

The incident comes after a police constable was run over by a suspected car thief in Birmingham last week.

The married 42-year-old traffic officer from West Midlands Police is facing “potentially life-changing” injuries, a senior officer told PA.

This came just days after Metropolitan Police constable Stuart Outten, 28, was left with head and hand injuries after challenging a motor offences suspect allegedly armed with a machete in Leyton, east London.

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.

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

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