Haunting moment Pembrokeshire murderer’s crimes exposed live on Bullseye
This is the moment a warped serial killer accidentally revealed his crimes – live on TV.
John Cooper, whose evil crimes are the basis for new ITV drama The Pembrokeshire Murders, appeared on cult ITV gameshow Bullseye in May 1989.
He appeared jovial and clearly skilled at darts. But what no one knew at the time was that he was also a serial killer.
Four years before the show was aired, he murdered siblings Richard and Helen Thomas at their farmhouse in Scoveston Park, Pembrokeshire.
And just three weeks after his appearance, Cooper shot dead Peter and Gwenda Dixon as they holidayed in the same region.
Despite being questioned by police at the time, it wasn’t until 2008 that investigators were able to pin the murders on Cooper.
It was his appearance on Bullseye that proved the breakthrough after Cooper incriminated himself by answering an innocuous question.
In the episode, seen above, presenter Jim Bowen asks the contestant: “You’ve got an unusual hobby, John?”
“Oh yes, scuba diving,” he responds. Jim then probes him on why Pembrokeshire is the best place to scuba.
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“We’ve got the coastline, we’ve got the deep water where you can swim over mountains,” he said.
In fact, the location Cooper had described was the same as where his murdering spree took place.
Police confirmed their killer was the contestant when they then compared an artist’s sketch of him.
“We managed to then freeze John Cooper in exactly the same position as the artists’ impression and, for me, it was like a tracing,” retired chief superintendent Steve Wilkins previously said.
“The way he was standing, his build, the hair, the scraggly hair. The unkempt look.
“I showed it to the lead officer and he said: ‘F***ing hell Wilkey, it’s him’.”
In 2009, DNA evidence was then found to conclusively prove Cooper was behind the murders. He was jailed for life in 2011 for the killings, as well as a string of burglaries, an armed robbery, sexually assaulting one girl and raping another.
The Pembrokeshire Murders starts tonight on ITV at 9pm.
- John Cooper
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