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PC dragged to his death on ‘very narrow country lane’, court hears

Line of duty: Andrew Harper died from multiple injuries after being dragged along behind a car PICTURES: PA

THE road where police officer Andrew Harper was dragged to his death last August was ‘a very narrow country lane’ where visibility was limited, an expert has said.

The Old Bailey heard Lambdens Hill near the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire had a 60mph limit but it was not advisable for drivers to reach that speed.

PC Harper, 28, died from multiple injuries when he was pulled along behind a car after responding to the reported theft of a quad bike late at night on August 15.

Henry Long, 18, from Mortimer, Reading, and two 17-year-olds, who cannot be named because of their age, all deny murdering the Thames Valley Police officer.

They all admit conspiring to steal a quad bike, and Long has admitted manslaughter, which the younger defendants deny.

Workmate: Andrew Shaw, who was responding to an emergency call with Andrew Harper on the night he died, arrives at the Old Bailey

Giving evidence in the trial today, collision reconstruction expert Simon Hall described Lambdens Hill as a ‘minor country road’, about 3.4 metres (11.2ft) wide, and with a road surface of granite chippings.

He said: ‘It is a very narrow country lane.’

Asked by prosecutor Brian Altman QC whether it was possible to drive at the 60mph speed limit, Mr Hall said: ‘You could drive it, but I wouldn’t advise it.

‘Certainly on the bendy sections, it would be very difficult.

‘On the corners you couldn’t see if anything was coming the other way.’

The court previously heard that PC Harper and crewmate PC Andrew Shaw were driving along Lambdens Hill on their way to the call when they met a Seat Toledo, driven by Long, coming the other way.

Escape: One of the teenagers tries unsuccessfully to get into the passenger door of the Seat before it is driven off

One of the 17-year-olds was in the passenger seat and the other was riding the quad bike being towed behind the car, attached to the boot lid hinge with a crane strap that formed a loop.

As the cars met, the teenager on the quad bike dismounted, disconnected the strap from the bike and tried unsuccessfully to get into the passenger door of the Seat, as Long began to drive off, the jurors heard.

Prosecutors said PC Shaw turned the police BMW’s emergency lights on and the teenager ran to jump through the back passenger window of the Seat.

As PC Harper tried to stop him, the officer’s feet were encircled in the crane strap, and he was dragged along as Long drove off, jurors were told.

The court heard that Long drove at an average speed of 42.5mph, leaving a snaking trail of tyre marks, blood and clothing as he swerved across the lane.

The trial continues.