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PC Andrew Harper murder trial: Quad bike 999 call played in court

PC Andrew Harper was responding to a report of a quad bike theft in BerkshireImage copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption PC Andrew Harper was responding to a report of a quad bike theft in Berkshire

Jurors have heard a 999 call made by the owner of a high-end quad bike as he watched it being stolen by three men accused of killing a police officer.

In the recording, Peter Wallis says he can see “four masked men” brandishing weapons outside his house.

They towed the bike away shortly before PC Andrew Harper, 28, tried to apprehend them and was dragged behind a car to his death, the Old Bailey heard.

Henry Long, 18, of Mortimer, Reading, and two 17-year-old boys deny murder.

Prosecutors allege the three were in a Seat Toledo attached to a crane strap which “shackled” PC Harper and dragged him for more than a mile along country lanes.

The court previously heard that, earlier in the day, a group of balaclava-clad men had approached Mr Wallis’ house in Stanford Dingley, near Reading.

He said the £10,000 quad bike had been parked in the drive.

‘No lights on’

Giving evidence from behind a screen, he told jurors the “intimidating” group had left after he repeatedly asked: “Can I help you, gentlemen?”

That night, Mr Wallis, who said he was already feeling nervous and had not been sleeping, told the court he saw a car approach at about 23:00.

He told jurors: “I quite rightly assumed something was afoot.”

Mr Wallis said he kneeled on his bed, “peering out of the window” as he saw a metal object approach slowly in the moonlight.

“It was the front half of a silver car with no lights on,” he said.

He said he called the police after “rummaging” for his phone.

‘They’re not taking my bike’

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Media captionPeter Wallis says he can see “four masked men” brandishing weapons outside his house

In the recording played to the jury, Mr Wallis tells a call handler: “I have got four masked men outside my house. They’ve got weapons”.

“They came round earlier and now they are on my property.”

Fearing the men would break into his house, he says: “They are stealing my quad bike. I’m going out there now. I’m going out there now.”

She urges him not to, saying: “If they have got a weapon you will be hurt.”

“I don’t care. I have got to protect that bike,” he says.

“Please send someone”.

He goes on: “They are not taking my damn bike.”

Mr Wallis says the bike is attached to the men’s car with a tow rope wrapped around its handlebars.

He can then be heard to describe the men “dragging” the bike up the road towards the village of Bradfield Southend.

The call handler assures him there are “lots of units on their way” and that it would be a “silent approach”.

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Henry Long (left) and two 17-year-old defendants – who cannot be identified due to their age – are in the dock at the Old Bailey

In written statements read to the jury by prosecutor Brian Altman QC, the court heard some residents of Stanford Dingley saw a car that afternoon with people inside wearing balaclavas.

Yvonne Millam said she drove past the vehicle and felt “instantly intimidated and scared” when the driver of the car began “staring right at me”.

The witness said she noticed in her rear mirror that the car’s rear number plate was “covered with royal blue tape”.

Thomas Gunter, who was drinking with friends outside the Bull Inn on Cock Lane, said he saw a gold coloured Seat “drive past approximately three times”.

He said the occupants gave him and his friends a “weird look”.

“What struck me was the car was playing very loud music and it was driving very quickly,” he said.

Mr Long has previously admitted manslaughter and conspiracy to steal a quad bike.

On Monday, the two 17-year-olds, who cannot be named due to their age, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal a quad bike. The pair deny manslaughter.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-51852922

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