The devastated mother of a police officer who died while responding to reports of a burglary has said the family’s “lives and hearts have been torn apart”.
Pc Andrew Harper, from Thames Valley Police, was killed last Thursday evening near the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire.
The 28-year-old newlywed died from multiple injuries after being dragged under a vehicle and was then possibly hit by a police car.
His mother Debbie was among family members paying tribute to Pc Harper as police forces across the country planned to observe a minute’s silence in his honour on Friday morning.
After thanking police officers, paramedics and the general public, she said: “Going on to my dearest and desperately missed Andrew, our lives and hearts have been torn apart, to be taken from us all and his childhood sweetheart Lissie and her lovely family who have been his closest family of late.”
As a boy, Pc Harper was “always the most balanced, calm, caring, loving, but hilariously funny character”, she said, adding: “Everything he did was with a smile. WeirdIy I cannot even remember a time he was angry or in a bad mood.”
She finished by saying: “We are devastated and bereft but, as Andrew always lived, with dignity, honour and calmness, we intend to grieve in this way.
“A big part of me has gone with you. I cannot imagine our lives going forward but we will do so with Andrew in our hearts.”
The officer’s father Phil and stepmother Karen described him as “more incredible than Mr Incredible, more super than Superman”, adding: “You had time for everyone, time to listen to them, bringing comfort and calmness wherever you went.
“You would always put yourself forward to look after the people around you, and would always see the good in others. You always made us laugh, always bringing tears of happiness to our eyes.”
Pc Harper had been married to Lissie for just four weeks when he died, and she described him as “the kindest, loveliest, most selfless” person.
His brother Sean said it was only weeks ago that he was writing the best man’s speech for the wedding, adding: “You were the funniest, bravest, most compassionate person I’ve ever known, and it is such an honour and a privilege to be able to call you my big brother.”
Pc Harper’s sister Aimee said: “It takes my breath away every time the realisation sets in that I never get to see you again. But we were so, so lucky to all be together for the wedding, which was perfect. You always brought us together.”
At 11am, Thames Valley Police will fall silent to honour his memory, and other forces across England have also said they will pay their respects.
Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole said his force will observe the silence, and Kent Police’s road policing unit also tweeted in support.
They are among several forces and emergency services to respond to Thames Valley Police’s tweet announcing the tribute.
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, which works within Thames Valley’s force area, responded that its staff would be “standing in solidarity” after the initial announcement was liked and shared hundreds of times.
Jed Foster, 20, has been charged with murder over the death of Pc Harper.
He was one of 10 men and boys aged between 13 and 30 arrested following the incident.
The remaining nine have been bailed until September 13.
A fundraising page set up by the Thames Valley Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, had raised more than £260,000.