The Pembrokeshire Murders plays actor Keith Allen as John Cooper, Welsh serial killer who got away with murder for years … But where is he now?
While the new three-part ITV series dramatizes his eventual capture, here’s an update on the Bullseye killer’s whereabouts.
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Who is John Cooper?
John Cooper earned the creepy nickname “Bullseye” killer after his appearance on the game show eventually led to his arrest.
He is a Welsh serial killer and a diagnosed psychopath.
John was found guilty of the murders of siblings Richard and Helen Thomas in 1985 and the double murders of husband and wife Peter and Gwenda Dixon in 1989.
The murders were known as the Pembrokeshire murders or the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path murders.
In addition to the double murders, John was found guilty of rape for sexually assaulting one minor and multiple robberies.
You don’t get any badass than John Cooper.
John Cooper’s crimes
John Cooper has been charged with vehicle theft, assaulting a police officer, drunkenness and disorder, and by ABH between the ages of 17 and 21.
He later targeted a three-story farmhouse in Scoveston Park and killed the reclusive brother and sister Richard and Helen Thomas.
Following the December 22, 1985 murders, John Cooper burned the house and destroyed vital evidence.
On June 29, 1989, John Cooper murdered the couple Peter and Gwenda Dixon, who were on vacation in Pembrokeshire.
John attacked them while they were taking a walk along the coastal path, handcuffing them and stealing their valuables.
The criminal then shot the couple in the face at close range with a sawed-off shotgun.
In 1996 he threatened five teenagers with a gun, sexually assaulted one girl and raped another.
By 1998 he had committed 30 burglaries and one armed robbery and was jailed for theft.
While he was in jail for robbery, police eventually linked him to the murders.
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Where is John Cooper now?
John Cooper was sentenced to life imprisonment in May 2011 after an eight-week trial.
He was also convicted of rape of a 16-year-old girl and sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl, both of which were carried out at gunpoint.
John is currently 76 and still in jail.
He tried to appeal his convictions in September 2011 but was dismissed in November 2012.
He stays at HMP Wakefield.
John Cooper on Bullseye
In a sick twist, the killer appeared on the ITV game show Bullseye in May 1989.
This was a few years after he killed brother and sister Richard and Helen Thomas and a month before he brutally killed the vacationing couple Dixon.
The show’s footage was later used to match it with witness descriptions.
Investigating Police checked his appearance for bullseye and compared his outline to a sketch of a suspect in the Dixons murder.
Prosecutors said its appearance at the time was an artist’s impression of a man seen outside a bank when the stolen card was being used by Mr Dixon to withdraw money.
Will John Cooper ever be released?
John was convicted of murder, rape, and sexual assault and sentenced to a whole order of life.
This means that he will never be released from prison.
How was John Cooper caught?
John Cooper was in jail for multiple robberies when DC Steve Wilkins (played by Luke Evans in The Pembrokeshire Murders) linked him to the murders of Richard and Helen Thomas and the Dixon couple.
Thanks to advances in DNA and forensics, the police identified Cooper’s shotgun as a murder weapon in April 2009.
He was arrested in May 2009 and sentenced in May 2011.
John’s own son Andrew testified against his father in the trial.
The Pembrokeshire murders begin Monday, January 11, 2021 at 9 p.m. on ITV.
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