John Cooper Bio- John Cooper Wiki
Strand of DNA and a chance appearance on a TV show brought down Bullseye killer John Cooper, the monster behind two double killings.
More than six million Brits have been watching the story unfold on three-part ITV drama The Pembrokeshire Murders.
And now Professor Angela Gallop has told The Mirror how she helped find the “golden nugget” of evidence needed by senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins – played in the drama by Luke Evans.
Prof Gallop was called in after cops reached a dead end with their investigation of the vile killings in the 1980s
The charred remains of siblings Richard and Helen Thomas, 58 and 54, were found in the ruins of their remote Pembrokeshire farmhouse, Scoveston Manor, in 1985.
Four years later, husband and wife Peter and Gwenda Dixon were murdered as they walked along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path.
Their bodies were later found hidden in undergrowth.
All four victims had been shot at point-blank range and it was clear the cases were linked – although the investigations remained unsolved for more than two decades.
A cold case review was launched in 2005 – and Prof Gallop, group chief executive officer of Oxfordshire-based Forensic Access, was initially called in to trawl through DNA samples.
She and her team initially failed to find anything new
However, she then persuaded cops to test more items seized from the two crime scenes.
And three years later, she finally found traces of fibre on a glove – and they were linked to Cooper, played in the series by Keith Allen.
Prof Gallop told the paper: “We then started looking at other items relating to Cooper, including a pair of shorts found atop of his kitchen units.
“Under a microscope and on the lower left leg of the shorts was the tiniest piece of evidence – a blood stain that matched Peter Dixon’s DNA.
“It was the golden nugget – linking him to the one of the double murders was finally discovered.”
Mr Dixon had been forced to hand over his bank card and PIN number, which was used four times to withdraw money.
Member of the public gave a description of a man wearing shorts acting suspiciously as he withdrew cash
After the find, cops rushed to find a photo of Cooper at the time of the murders.
But they had no luck – until they discovered he had appeared on TV darts competition Bullseye in May 1989, just a month before the Dixons were killed.
An image of Cooper was then compared to an artist’s impression of the wanted killer, which was sketched at the time of the original investigation.
Cooper was already serving 16 years for armed robbery and 30 burglaries when Prof Gallop found his DNA.
He was interviewed behind bars as part of the cold case review – but released on parole in 2008.
Cops knew he would soon strike again, and redoubled their efforts to get the evidence they needed to secure a conviction.
“The pressure was on them and us,” Prof Gallop said.
“We knew Cooper discarded a lot of his offending gear in hedgerows, including blue knitted acrylic gloves.