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The Pembrokeshire Murders: Serial killer John Cooper’s son wanted to ‘set the record straight’ with ITV drama

The son of evil killer John Cooper hopes to ‘set the record straight’ about his father’s crimes in ITV’s new drama The Pembrokeshire Murders.

The true details of The Pembrokeshire Murders or the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path murders will be retold in the three-part series starring Beauty and the Beast actor Luke Evans.

Luke plays Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins, who decides to reopen two unsolved 1980s murder cases linked with a string of burglaries and sexual assaults.

Andrew Cooper, who is played by Oliver Ryan in the drama, and his dad, who is portrayed by Keith Allen, didn’t have the typical father-son relationship, especially after John tried to implicate his only child for his evil crimes.

Speaking to about the ITV series, writer Nick Stevens recalled the moment he met with the real-life Andrew Cooper where he got to tell ‘his side of the story’.

‘I was quite apprehensive about the first meeting, here I am, a TV writer, wanting to burrow into the darkest recesses of this man’s private life and he was never anything but totally generous and open,’ Nick explained.

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Oliver Ryan plays Andrew Cooper in the ITV series (Picture: Warren Orchard)

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The real John William Cooper (Picture: ITV)

‘He saw this as an opportunity to set the record straight, to tell his side of the story.

‘He had a score to settle with his absent father and he saw this drama as an opportunity to do precisely that.’

The writer explained that after reading the book titled The Pembrokeshire Murders: Catching the Bullseye Killer, which is based on true events, he soon realised what he wanted to focus on in the programme.

‘It was a plethora of interesting stuff in the book written by Wilkins and (Jonathan) Hill, but not all of it would have made for good drama,’ he continued.

‘So it was just a case of maintaining focus and walking that tightrope and finding the dramatic moments and that’s what I did.’

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Luke Evans plays detective Steve Wilkins (Picture: Warren Orchard)

Nick went on to add that because of his meeting with Andrew he was able to add an ‘extra scene’ to the series, that wasn’t in the book.

He said: ‘The book was essentially all about procedure and one of the happy discoveries that I made in the course of reading the book, was this detail that when the detectives interviewed Cooper they interviewed him over the course of three days.

‘Whenever he felt under threat, he would implicate his son Andrew, and in the book it was very clear that Steve Wilkins was disgusted by this strategy as any parent would be.’

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Keith Allen as John Cooper (Picture: Warren Orchard)

‘Why would you implicate your son in such terrible crimes? It gave me a real fire to find Andrew and tell his story,’ he added.

‘And meeting with him and spending a lot of time with him, delivered an additional storyline, not in the book.’

Dyfed-Powys Police were finally able to crack the cold case review after they linked artist impressions of the suspect with a 1989 episode of Bullseye, which John featured in.

The police were then able to identify John’s shotgun as the murder weapon in 2009, and 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 will air on ITV early next year.


Credit: Original article published here.

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