The Pembrokeshire Murder killer John Cooper’s wife Pat concealed a pair of his victim’s shorts without knowing.
The true details of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path murders, as they’re otherwise known, will be retold in the ITV series starring Beauty and the Beast actor Luke Evans.
In the first episode, which aired last night, Luke, who plays Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins, reopened two unsolved 1980s murder cases linked with a string of burglaries and sexual assaults.
DCS Wilkins spent months trawling through over old evidence, submitting them for forensic analysis.
One item that had him stumped was a pair of shorts worn by the suspect in an artist impression.
Serial killer John had always described the shorts he wore as being ‘bathers’ whereas the suspect’s shorts were longer in the leg.
So, they couldn’t possibly be his, right?
However, when police discovered that John’s wife was a seamstress, they began to dig deeper and soon realised that she had altered them.
Murderer John, portrayed by actor Keith Allen, initially tried to implicate his son Andrew Cooper (Oliver Ryan) by suggesting that he could have borrowed the shorts in question.
In the end, little did Pat know, when she altered the shorts there was a small speck of one of John’s victim’s blood on the hem – which 20 years later went on to convict him.
Speaking about the moment in the ITV drama, writer Nick Stevens told Metro.co.uk and other press: ‘It’s a great metaphor, isn’t it, that the truth will out.
‘Pat Cooper, who was an accomplished seamstress had been told by her husband to alter the shorts, because they were in fact women’s shorts and because Cooper had taken them from the belongings of the victim he killed.’
‘He was obviously self-conscious about the fact that they were women shorts,’ Nick added.
‘They were too long so he got his wife to alter them not knowing that a speck of one of the victim’s blood was hidden in the process and preserved for 20 odd years so that the (police) team could find it.
‘You couldn’t make it up literally.’
John was finally exposed after Dyfed-Powys Police linked artist impressions of the suspect with a 1989 episode of Bullseye, which John featured in (he was also wearing the shorts in this episode).
They were then able to identify John’s shotgun as the murder weapon in 2009.
In 2011 he was charged with the double murders and sexual assaults.
On May 26 2011, John was convicted for the 1985 double murder of siblings Richard and Helen Thomas and the 1989 double murder of Peter and Gwenda Dixon.
He was also charged with the rape of a 16-year-old girl and the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl, who were both held at gunpoint.
In September 2011, he launched an appeal against his convictions, but it was rejected in November 2012.
The Pembrokeshire Murders returns tonight at 9pm on ITV.
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