John Cooper (serial killer)

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John William Cooper
Johncooper.jpg
Born (1944-09-03) 3 September 1944 (age 70)[1]
Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Other names The Bullseye Killer
The Wildman
The Game Show Killer
Criminal penalty
Life imprisonment
Conviction(s) 4 murders,
Killings
Victims 4
Span of killings
1985–1989
Country Wales, United Kingdom
State(s) Pembrokeshire
Date apprehended
2009

John William Cooper (born 3 September 1944) is a serial killer from Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire. On 26 May 2011 he was given four life sentences for the 1985 double murder of brother and sister Richard and Helen Thomas, and the 1989 double murder of Peter and Gwenda Dixon.[2] Cooper was also sentenced for the rape of a 16-year old girl and a sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl, both carried out at gunpoint, in March 1996, in woodland behind the Mount Estate, Milford Haven.[3]

Cooper had a history of crime, including 30 robberies and violent assault. Footage from the TV game show Bullseye, in which he appeared as a contestant in May 1989, was later used as evidence against him, comparing his image with a sketch of a suspect in the Dixons' murder. Cooper was sentenced for 14 years in 1998 (served 10 years) for burglary and robbery, enabling the police to collect further evidence against him. He was released from prison in January 2009. Through a cold case review, and subsequent developments in DNA and forensic science, in April 2009 the police were able to identify Cooper's shotgun as the murder weapon. He was arrested in May 2009 and was convicted in May 2011 for the double murders and sexual assaults. In September 2011, he launched an appeal against his convictions. His appeal was rejected in November 2012.[4] He has no possibility of parole.

History of crimes[edit]

On 22 December 1985, Cooper targeted a three-storey farmhouse at Scoveston Park, killing brother and sister Richard and Helen Thomas, later burning down the house.[3]

On 28 May 1989, Cooper participated in a recording of the ITV gameshow Bullseye. Cooper remarked to host Jim Bowen that he had an unusual hobby of scuba diving, Bowen remarking that Pembrokeshire was the ideal location.[5]

In 1989 Peter and Gwenda Dixon were on holiday in Pembrokeshire and were due to take their last walk along the coastal path when they failed to return. Their bodies were later found along the coastal path.[6] Cooper tied the couple up and demanded them to hand out their bank card and then forced them to disclose their personal identification number (PIN). Cooper, carrying a sawn-off shotgun, robbed Peter Dixon of £300 and shot the couple in the face at point blank range.[7]

Documentary[edit]

The UK television series Real Crime broadcast a documentary about Cooper, in November 2011.

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Cooper: Timeline - Wales News - News - WalesOnline
  2. ^ John William Cooper Gets Four Life Sentences For Double Murders After Cops Use Bullseye Footage Sky News Article, 26 May 2011
  3. ^ a b John Cooper Guilty Of Two Pembrokeshire Double Murders, BBC News Article, 26 May 2011
  4. ^ John Cooper loses murder legal challenge, BBC News Article, 1 November 2012
  5. ^ McCarthy, James (16 September 2013). "'The moment Bullseye revealed the killer': How shotgun killer John Cooper was caught". Wales Online. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  6. ^ John Cooper: Couple's Holiday Ended By Serial Killer, BBC News, 26 May 2011
  7. ^ Real Crime: The Game Show Killer (Television). ITV. November 2011. 
Bibliography
  • Wilkins, Steve; Hill, Johnathan (2013). The Pembrokeshire Murders: Catching the Bullseye Killer. Bridgend: Seren. ISBN 978-1781728000.