The Pembrokeshire Murders

The investigations spanned 25 years and John Cooper was finally caught with the help of a quiz show.

Josie Klakström


John Cooper (right) on Bullseye via

Born on the 3rd of September 1944, John Cooper lived in Milford Haven, a small town in Pembrokeshire, Wales, where he worked as a farm labourer. He was a keen fisherman and knew the local area well, spending most of his free time outdoors.

In 1966, he married Patricia and the couple had two children, a girl and a boy. In 1978, Cooper won a new car and £90,000 in a competition. From here, he set up a small farm but due to his gambling habit, alcoholism and poor financial choices, the money soon disappeared. Shortly after, Cooper turned to burglary.

He was a prolific thief in his late teens and he knew how to get in and out of homes. In his youth, he was charged with stealing a car and assaulting a police officer. In total, he committed around 30 robberies and violent assaults on the unsuspecting.

To residents of Milford Haven, John Cooper was a likeable man, but behind closed doors, he took his aggression out on his son. Andrew said in the ITV documentary, Real Crime with Mark Austin, that while fishing with his father, the 11-year-old was hit in the face and pushed to the floor. Cooper then pointed a gun at his son and told him that he was worthless, and his family didn’t want him anymore. He pulled the trigger, but the gun was empty.

The abuse was continuous, and Andrew, now an adult, has 12 screws holding his spine in place, from being punched so viciously in the back when he was a child.

Richard and Helen

Three days before Christmas of 1985, Cooper broke into a large farmhouse in Scoveston Park, near to Milford Haven. The home belonged to siblings Richard and Helen Thomas, and Cooper likely knew that Helen, who was in her fifties, was alone in the three-storey home.

Scoveston Park via

While he was robbing the house, Richard returned home and surprised Cooper. In return, he shot Richard in the stomach and head. Helen had been tied up and shot in the head. He then poured diesel…



Josie Klakström

Josie is a freelance journo who writes about writing, true crime, culture and marketing.