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'We're absolutely devastated,' PC Andrew Harper's father says

Sky News logo Sky News 17/08/2019

a man wearing a suit and tie: Andrew Harper was killed as he responded to a 'serious incident' © Other Andrew Harper was killed as he responded to a 'serious incident' The father of a police officer killed while responding to reports of a burglary says his family are "in a bad place".

PC Andrew Harper's father Philip told Sky News: "We're absolutely devastated and we're in a bad place."

His comments came as a post-mortem found PC Harper died of multiple injuries after being dragged along by a vehicle in the Berkshire village of Sulhamstead on Thursday.

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Detectives have been given another 36 hours to question ten suspects - boys and men aged between 13 and 30 - held on suspicion of murder.

Officers stationed at the scene of the incident laid flowers this morning.

a man and a woman standing in front of a flower: Andrew Harper on his wedding day. Pic: Mark Lord Photography © Other Andrew Harper on his wedding day. Pic: Mark Lord Photography Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Matthew Barber, said: "Many people will have only heard the news yesterday and it does hit hard the morning after.

"You realise this is the second morning Andrew's family will wake up without him.

"It's a personal tragedy for them first and foremost and will leave a lasting impression on the force and the surrounding community."

Two white tents have been erected and forensics investigators have been gathering items and taking photographs at the scene.

Officers were seen searching the inside of a grey BMW that was there, according to witnesses.

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

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.

PC Harper was married last month in a ceremony at Ardington House in Oxfordshire and was due to go on his honeymoon next week.

Andy Fiddler, from Thames Valley Police Federation, said the news was "totally devastating".

He said: "All our thoughts - and the thoughts of the entire police family across the UK - are with the family, friends and close colleagues of PC Andrew Harper, who died last night.

"Police officers go to work each and every day to do their duty. We are courageous, caring and compassionate. We confront danger on a daily basis.

a man sitting in front of a window: Police at a caravan site near Burghfield Common in Berkshire © PA Police at a caravan site near Burghfield Common in Berkshire

"We know there is a risk when we put on the uniform but we do so as we are proud to protect the public.

"Sadly on very rare and horrendous occasions a colleague makes the ultimate sacrifice. We will ensure that heroism is never forgotten."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "deeply shocked and appalled by the death of a brave officer on duty".

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He added: "My thoughts are with PC Harper's family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time.

a truck is parked in the grass: A police officer laying flowers at the scene of PC Harper's death © PA A police officer laying flowers at the scene of PC Harper's death "It is the most powerful reminder that police officers up and down the country put themselves at risk every single day to keep us safe. They have my absolute support."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was "totally shocked", adding that the incident demonstrated the need for increased focus on police numbers.

a group of people that are standing in the grass: Messages on flowers left at the scene © Getty Messages on flowers left at the scene "Let's just think for a moment of the horror of it, but also for the need for more police officers to be able to respond to disorder in our society, but also the problem of guns and the problem of violence that is growing," he said.

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The officer's grandmother, Maureen Shrimpton, posted on Facebook: "Just a really horrible day. Our grandson Andrew was killed last night while doing his police work. So proud of him.

"Our love goes to his lovely wife, Mum and Dad, brother and all of his family and friends. Love from Nan and Bubba."

His mother Deborah Adlam had also shared a picture with her son on Facebook - telling friends she was "so proud" of him.

a yellow fire hydrant sitting in the grass: The flowers for PC Andrew Harper laid on the road near his death © Sky News Screen Grab The flowers for PC Andrew Harper laid on the road near his death

Other relatives have said that the couple had a "dream wedding".

PC Harper was also preparing to take on a huge challenge for charity - a 20-mile, 200-obstacle race - that was due to take place in May next year.

a truck that is sitting in the grass: Police officers at the scene on Ufton Lane © PA Police officers at the scene on Ufton Lane

A Virgin fundraising page shows that he was hoping to raise £500 for a children's cancer charity.

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He had written: "Personally I have never been much of a runner - the longest I've ever done to date being 10K however I have decided to run... to try and help save the lives of children with cancer and keep families together. Even if only one child benefits then it will be well and truly worth it.

"Wherever possible, please support me in this goal and help us fight for those who can't fight for themselves."

The Police Roll of Honour Trust, which commends officers who have died in the line of duty, has said PC Harper's death will be recorded on the list, adding: "His service and sacrifice will never be forgotten."

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