Just over a year ago it was, that PC Andrew Harper’s young bride received that late-night knock on the door to bring her the news that would blight her life for ever.
She’d been married to him barely four weeks when she learned her hero husband had been dragged to his death behind the car of thieves he’d tried to stop.
In those unbearable 12 months, the unwavering fortitude and determination she has shown have been awe-inspiring.
She watched as his killers — Henry Long, 19, Albert Bowers and Jessie Cole, both 18 — showed no remorse in court. She had to witness their sickening smirks when they were convicted not of murder but manslaughter.
PC Andrew Harper’s bride Lissie had been married to him barely four weeks when she learned her hero husband had been dragged to his death behind the car of thieves he’d tried to stop
The short sentences they received were a crippling blow to her, making a mockery of justice. And now, this week, Lissie, 29, discovered that her husband’s killers had received a staggering £465,000 in legal aid.
Injustice has been heaped on injustice in a way that would cause most of us — in her words — ‘to buckle beneath the grief’. But not her. She has only grown stronger.
Yes, she has despaired. But from that despair has arisen the passion and courage that have enabled her to fight with eloquence and persuasion for Harper’s Law, meaning callous killers like her husband’s would be jailed for life.
And she’s not the only one. There is a gallery of women who, through an abiding sense of injustice, have rallied and fought for those they love and have lost.
Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen and Harry Dunn’s mum Charlotte refuse to give up their search for justice.
Then there’s Sarah Payne’s mother Sara, who ushered in Sarah’s Law, so every sex offender is placed on a register, after her eight-year-old girl was abducted and murdered.
Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen (pictured with Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick) refuses to give up in her search for justice
Their campaigns have been forceful, focused and driven with total conviction. They have changed laws, embarrassed prime ministers and presidents and left the world a better place.
When we saw the stricken young widow Lissie Harper weeping after the death of her new husband at his funeral, we could never have anticipated her inner strength. But no one will underestimate her now.
Keira Knightley has given her support to the Extinction Rebellion activists who plan to bring Britain to a standstill over the Bank Holiday weekend, no doubt gluing themselves to airports and bridges.
Bless them; like Keira they’re all such well-intentioned, ill-informed ninnies — the pandemic has already achieved that.
Sarah needs true friends
After Sarah Harding revealed she has advanced breast cancer which has spread, her former Girls Aloud ‘besties’ posted loving messages of support on social media.
Good for them, but I hope those messages are followed up by deeds. Support in such circumstances requires more than a heartbroken emoji sent to your millions of followers.
It means offers of care: chicken soup delivered by hand, a real phone call every day, turning up at hospital or home, just for a hug.
As the old Aussie proverb goes, a friend of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds.
Time must be up for Brangelina
Four years after Angelina Jolie, 45, called in the police, accusing her husband Brad Pitt of hitting their adopted son, she remains reluctant to divorce him.
Brad Pitt took his 27-year-old girlfriend Nicole Poturalski on holiday to a £50million Chateau Miraval in the South of France – where he married Angelina Jolie
What an incentive she has to end it now, though, as Brad takes his 27-year-old girlfriend Nicole Poturalski on holiday to their £50 million Chateau Miraval in the South of France.
It’s where Brad and Ange were married, for heaven’s sake. Surely even by Hollywood depths-plumbing standards, that should be the final nail in the coffin.
As she sipped organic tea with feminist legend Gloria Steinem in the back garden of her and Harry’s newly acquired £11 million LA mansion, the Duchess of Sussex, wore a pair of Stella McCartney vegan ‘leather’ sandals.
They’re made from recycled polyester which, says Stella, creates 24 times less environmental impact than the 6in Jimmy Choo leather stilettoes Megs wore when she was a working member of the Royal Family.
Whatever the case, I just wonder whether anyone is missing her footprint — carbon or otherwise — here in the UK?
William Nicholson is the director and writer of the new movie Hope Gap, about a man who dumps his wife for a younger woman.
He wants the message to be: ‘There are no villains in divorce.’ Jolly good.
But why, then, does he have Annette Bening (the wife) saying: ‘Marriages don’t bleed, but it’s still murder.’
Ellie Goulding and Ed Sheeran have a lot in common. They’re both strawberry blondes, both British and acclaimed singer songwriters. She’s worth £15 million, he £122 million.
Ellie did her first 2020 concert this week, virtually, wearing a red cut-out bondage bra and eye-wateringly skimpy hot pants, gushing afterwards: ‘What a rush.’
Ellie Goulding did her first 2020 concert this week, virtually, wearing a red cut-out bondage bra and eye-wateringly skimpy hot pants
Ed performs in scruffy jeans and a T-shirt. How is it that in this #MeToo era, songstresses still have to dress like tarts, while men impersonate the local binman and still outshine them?
I blame Madonna.
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire says he feared he was being kidnapped when his minibus was stopped by a few weedy Greek coppers in Mykonos where he was on holiday.
The coppers’ lawyer says Maguire’s account is ‘ridiculous’, ‘unbelievable’ and ‘only adds further insult to the harm he caused the policemen he attacked’.
Who knows who to believe — although Maguire comes out of it a very mediocre defender.
The one thing we can say is this: it was criminal of him to run up a £63,000 bar bill in a few hours — with £35,000 spent on two bottles of champagne alone.
The much-awaited autobiography of Ant and Dec, Once Upon A Tyne, reveals that the humble Geordies were so cross when their boss Simon Cowell turned up late for rehearsal for Britain’s Got Talent, they considered quitting — for three whole seconds, before contemplating their multi-million-pound salaries.
Should have been entitled Once Upon A Whine.
The much-awaited autobiography of Ant and Dec, Once Upon A Tyne, reveals the Geordies considered quitting when their boss Simon Cowell turned up late for rehearsal
- Downing Street refuses to say if Boris is paying for the services of his £165-an-hour personal trainer, or whether they are ‘complimentary’. Given the pictures of Bozzie Bear, they’re certainly not yet complimentary to the reputation of celebrity fitness guru Harry Jameson.
- The PM’s response to the exams fiasco was to sack not the hapless Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, but the department’s top civil servant, Jonathan Slater, the fifth Permanent Secretary to be booted out under this Government. Boris is discarding civil servants as fast as he dumped his mistresses.
- News that the Liberal Democrats have appointed their new leader, Ed Davey, requires only one response: Who cares?
Honey gone to pot
A plea in defence of pilloried parents Jonathan Ross and his wife Jane Goldman. They met when she was 16, have struggled with weight problems, and yet have one of the strongest marriages in showbiz — which takes something.
Now they are accused on TV by their 23-year-old, size-18 daughter Honey of being ‘fat-phobic’. She implies that the way they encouraged her to control her diet as a teenager was a terrible thing.
Honey, this is not child abuse. It’s just that your parents tried to stop you eating the entire family-sized pizza and tempt you towards a broccoli pasta and salad instead.
Whatever you say on your plus-size website where you parade yourself, the sad truth is that being that fat isn’t always fun.
The BBC’s EastEnders is about to reappear on our screens, with actors ‘kissing’ each other with Perspex screens between them to allow social distance.
Fair enough, but legendary hardman Phil Mitchell strangling and punching through a plastic screen? Where’s the fun in that?