Behind-the-scenes story of how Pembrokeshire serial killer John Cooper was caught is launched
4:01pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
DETECTING THE BULLSEYE KILLER: Retired DCS Steve Wilkins and ITV Wales journalist Jonathan Hill at the book launch. PICTURE: Western Telegraph. (1269678)
A BOOK about how Pembrokeshire serial killer John Cooper was brought to justice – written by the Detective Chief Superintendant (DCS) in charge of the investigation - was launched at the Waterfront Gallery, Milford Haven, last Thursday (September 26).
Retired DCS Steve Wilkins led a cold case review which resulted in Cooper’s conviction more than 20 years after he murdered Richard and Helen Thomas at Scoveston Manor in 1985, and Peter and Gwenda Dixon on the Pembrokeshire coastal path four years later.
His book, The Pembrokeshire MURDERS: Detecting the Bullseye Killer, co-written by ITV Wales journalist Jonathan Hill, gives a behind-the-scenes account of the police investigation.
Mr Hill, who worked on the BAFTA Wales award-winning Week special, The Bullseye Killer, said it had been an “extraordinary journey”.
“In 1990, I was a student camping on the Pembrokeshire coast with friends exactly a year to the day the Dixon’s were killed on the coastal path.
“There was a huge police presence in the area in the hope that people who had been there the year before would have returned and could provide new information.
“I remember being captivated by it. I’ve always been interested in crime and in 20 years of reporting on crime for ITV I have never come across a story like it.”
Matching an artist’s impression of a man using the Dixon’s cash card in Haverfordwest, with footage of Cooper on ITV’s Bullseye exactly a month before the murder, was a key breakthrough.
But the “golden nugget”, as Mr Wilkins explained, came around two and a half years in to the six-year investigation when forensics found a pinhead-sized trace of Peter Dixon’s blood – a one in one billion match – on a pair of shorts from Cooper’s bedroom.
More than 30 people, including old police colleagues, attended the launch.
Tony Eaden, who was detective sergeant at Milford Haven at the time, said: “When I retired in 1992, there were two unsolved double murders and very little hope that they would be detected, but here we are today, thankfully, with a conviction.”
Comments are closed on this article.