Where are the real life people from The Pembrokeshire Murders now?
John Cooper was sentenced to life in prison
ITV’s latest true crime drama, The Pembrokeshire Murders, concludes tonight after a gripping few episodes.
Over the last few days we’ve seen Detective Wilkins and his team uncover the crimes of serial killer John Cooper. The real John Cooper was found guilty of the murders of Richard and Helen Thomas, and Peter and Gwenda Dixon in 2011 after more than 20 years since he committed the crimes.
The three-part drama series covers the police investigation of the crimes, as well as their collaboration with ITV News and a deep dive into Cooper’s life with his wife and estranged son.
The series was based on the book about the investigation by Steve Wilkins and Jonathan Hill. But where are the major people involved in the case now?
This is everything we know about what’s happened to John Cooper, Steve Wilkins, Andrew Cooper and Jonathan Hill since the case ended:
At end of the ITV series Cooper is sentenced to a life in prison, just as the real life John Cooper was in May 2011, following an eight week trial.
He was sentenced for the double murders, as well as the rape of a 16-year-old girl and the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl. Cooper attempted to appeal the convictions in September 2011 but the appeal was rejected in November 2012.
Cooper is now 76 years old and is imprisoned in HMP Wakefield, which is a high security prison in West Yorkshire.
Steve Wilkins, played by Luke Evans, was the lead investigator in Operation Ottawa, the operation responsible for finding the serial killer.
The real Steve Wilkins is now 61-years-old and retired. After the case concluded in 2011, Wilkins retired and co-wrote a book with Jonathan Hill about the case, called “The Pembrokeshire Murders: Catching the Bullseye Killer”. He now lives in Cheshire, having initially returned to Wales in 2006 after a two year stint in London.
Steve has heavily praised the team and Luke Evans for creating the show. He has spoken about their sensitivity towards the victims’ families and their professionalism.
He said: “I cannot speak too highly of their understanding, sensitivity and professionalism and commitment to getting it right.
“They quickly understood that they were depicting real people, many who are still carrying the scars.”
Steve also spoke about his surprise at having Luke Evans play him as he thought it might be Johnny Vegas instead.
He said: “When they came and said ‘Luke Evans is going to be in it’ I was really surprised that someone like him wanted to do it. When I met him I realised why.”
“Lots of people were joking saying people like Johnny Vegas should play me.”
Steve ended up spending some time with Luke Evans prior to filming. They went for a few beers and Steve said he was impressed with Luke’s knowledge and compassion for the case.
Steve also spent a few days with the ITV team explaining investigative processes.
John Cooper’s estranged son, Andrew and his difficult childhood is also featured in the ITV drama. It turns out the real Andrew Cooper was involved in the creation of the drama.
Andrew, who was originally born as Adrian, changed his name to distance himself from his father. He also has a sister called Theresa, but not much is known about her.
There are no photographs of Andrew. However the writer for The Pembrokeshire Murders, Nick Stevens revealed he spent a lot of time with Andrew whilst writing the show.
Nick said it was difficult to track him down, but was helped out by Jonathan Hill. Nick described Andrew as “generous and open” and said Andrew wanted to use the TV show to set the record straight about his side of the story.
Nick also revealed Andrew wanted to use the show as a way to “settle the score with his absent father”.
ITV journalist, Jonathan Hill, was instrumental in assisting on Operation Ottawa. He worked with Detective Wilkins to plan a TV appeal and also enabled the team access to the videos of Cooper when he appeared on ITV’s Bullseye.
The real Jonathan Hill is still working as a journalist and presents ITV Wales at six. He was reportedly heavily involved in getting his book with Steve Wilkins made into a TV drama, and was writing to various commissioners to get it made.
Jonathan has been retweeting and commenting about the show whilst it has been on, including retweeting praise from Vicky Pattison.
Featured image credit: World Productions/ITV