The Pembrokeshire Murders: What it was like growing up as John Coopers son Andrew – Wales Online

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An emotional watch, The Pembrokeshire Murders focuses on serial killer, John Cooper’s, son Andrew (Oliver Ryan) for many scenes of the ITV drama.

The true-crime adaptation of the book, Catching The Bullseye Killer, features harrowing detail about how Andrew (who changed his name from Adrian) was abused at the hands of his father. The three-part series, which stars Luke Evans was coming to an end tonight (January 13).

And while we don’t know much about Andrew, bar what we see in the drama, series writer Nick Stevens was keen to give the man a voice in the series, especially after John Cooper – who was found guilty of the double murders of Peter & Gwenda Dixon and Helen and Richard Thomas and a vicious attack on a group of teenagers near Milford Haven’s Mount Estate – implicated Andrew in his interviews with police investigators.

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Nick said: “The interviews provided me with more than just Good v Evil confrontations. They opened my eyes to the possibility of a whole new storyline. Whenever Cooper felt under threat his knee-jerk reaction was to implicate his son, Adrian. Time and again, he implied that Adrian was the culprit. The actual four-time murderer.

“The disgust Steve (former detective chief superintendent Steve Wilkins) felt at this repellent strategy came across strongly in the book. As a father myself, I shared his disgust and it fired me with a determination to give Adrian Cooper a voice in the drama.”

The Pembrokeshire Murders

ITV Wales journalist Jonathan Hill managed to track down Andrew and Nick said what he gave him gave the police procedural drama a ‘deeply personal’ aspect.

“Over the course of several meetings – quietly, frankly and without self-pity – Andrew told me how it had been for him growing up as the abused son of a serial killer,” said the writer, who also penned  In Plain Sight, the 2016 mini-series about killer Peter Manuel .

“He also breathed life into the tragic figure of his mother, Pat, who, in another extraordinary twist, had died of a heart attack on Cooper’s first night of freedom after his release from prison in Christmas, 2008. Thanks to Andrew’s openness and generosity, the drama I was writing now had a poignant, deeply personal storyline which would run in parallel with the police procedural.”

What happened to Pat Cooper?

Caroline Berry as Pat Cooper in The Pembrokeshire Murders
(Image: WORLD PRODUCTIONS/ITV)

Sadly, Pat Cooper died the day John Cooper (Keith Allen) was released from prison after serving a 16-year sentence in 1998 for armed robbery and 30 burglaries.

Steve Wilkins, who formed the Operation Ottawa team to re-open the murder of the Dixons in 1989, shed some light on Pat Cooper’s death.

“On the first night he moved back into that house his wife died – I just think she gave up. She’d had 10 years away from this man who was an absolute beast and suddenly he was back in the house. She had massive heart conditions but I think the poor lady just gave up.”

Oliver Ryan as Andrew Cooper
(Image: WORLD PRODUCTIONS/ITV)

There was nothing linking her death to Cooper though.

“You can imagine – I got the call at 3am from our control room to say John Cooper just phoned us up to say his wife’s dead. You can imagine what went through my mind. But she had three different heart conditions that would’ve killed her. There was nothing suspicious in it.”

 

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