Pembrokeshire Murders (2021) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

'Prime Minister Tony Blair has led political "tributes from a grateful nation' 'Hey, Dad! Morning, sunshine.
You up? 'Up? I'm out and about!' Hm, pardon me, early riser.
'What is it, Dad?' You said there was a match today.
'Oh, yeah.
Only a crappy school thing.
' Oh, well, I wanna come.
Where is it? 'No, Dad, seriously, it's not that type of match.
'No parents are gonna be there! You're wrong.
I'll be there.
"The Queen" s 80th birthday celebrations.
'Her sense of duty and service, said Mr Blair' We set? Boss.
How's the report coming? ACPO are asking.
Yeah, should be with you by the end of play today.
Any nasty surprises? wish.
It's gonna be a job for me to find something to do.
have a hunch you'll manage.
What's with the TV crew, Dave? Old news.
Argh! Hey.
What's up? 'So, er, Jack just texted to say you're picking him up from the match.
Is there a problem? 'Well, back a month and you're running the show.
'Look, just 'Just make sure you're there" Fran, I'll be there.
Go on, Jack.
So, I was thinking, we could have a mid—week boys' night in.
Take—away, DVD? I've cleared it with Mum.
said I'd stay over at Ryan's.
Can't you stay at Ryan's another night? was thinking, how about you spend one week with me, one week with your mum? You know, that gives Mum and Mike some space, too.
Did Mum ask you to do this? No! But she's fine about it, if you are.
Can I think about it? Absolutely.
Look, go and stay at Ryan's tonight and we'll chat.
Come here.
'With so many recent successes nationwide 'where DNA has played a key role in solving cold cases, 'attention will inevitably turn to 'unsolved murders in Wales, most notably the double murders 'of Peter and Gwenda Dixon in Pembrokeshire.
'Jonathan Hill reports.
' 'Over 17 years ago, the couple were blasted to death 'with a shotgun by an unknown killer as they walked along here 'at the Coastal Path in Little Haven in Pembrokeshire.
'Despite a huge police investigation, 'no—one was ever charged for the crime, 'and the Dixon family's long wait for justice continues.
'A lot of people have said they no longer feel comfortable 'coming to this path any more.
'They say it no longer feels the same.
'We asked Dyfed Powys Police for a comment 'but were told that no—one was available.
' Old news? 'Meanwhile, the identity of John and Gwenda Dixon's vicious killer 'remains unknown.
' How you settling in, Steve? It's like I never left.
found only one area where we're exposed.
No thorough forensic reviews of serious crimes.
Most notably Coastal Path.
You saw the news.
What's the story? The unlikelihood of finding anything new.
The distress that would cause the Dixon family.
And, if we failed, the delight the media would take in hauling us through the muck.
A few years back, they branded us "institutionally incompetent”, and it stuck.
Well, it's about time we did something about that.
I'd like to take a look at Coastal Path, see if there's anything there.
That OK with you? You don't need my permission.
DCI George Jones was SIO on it.
Is he still about? Yeah, he is.
But, Steve, go easy on the old bloke.
Thank you for seeing me, sir.
A police dog found them.
Six days after they were reported missing.
The maggots gave us the time of death.
After he murdered them, the attacker stole Peter Dixon's wallet and wedding ring.
It's not much of a reason to end two lives, is it? Gwenda Dixon was sexually assaulted with her husband lying dead not six feet away.
He was a sick, sadistic bastard.
He didn't need a reason.
We did the best we could.
won't be made a scapegoat.
That's not why I'm here, sir.
So, four days after the murders, a man walked into Pembroke Bespoke Jewellers and sold a 22—carat gold band.
The band matched the description of Peter Dixon's stolen wedding ring.
( And the seller of the ring had signed the receipt ) Cooper.
Now, on the basis of this information, one of your team, a DC Dylan Rees? He questioned a John William Cooper of 28 Rose Meadow Lane, Birchmede.
Cooper said that the ring was his own and that he sold it because he needed the cash, and then his wife confirmed the story.
And then no further action was taken.
I'm curious to hear your view on this.
sent a DC to do a DCl's job.
should've questioned Cooper myself, but we we were swamped.
After the case was closed, learnt that Rees drank in the same pub as Cooper, together.
My view is that Cooper used the fact they knew each other.
That Rees was manipulated.
Where's Cooper now? Dyffryn Prison.
He was sentenced to 16 years in 1998 for a string of, er burglaries and robberies.
The investigation was codenamed Huntsman.
They interviewed Cooper, but didn't get anything.
16 years in 1998 If he's behaved himself, he'll be up for parole.
Where it happened is just below Talbenny church.
The spot is marked by a plaque.
The Dixons' son and daughter leave a wreath every year.
You found us, then.
So, you're doing a bit of digging on John William Cooper? I am.
Let's hope you have better luck than we did.
Operation Huntsman.
This was us.
There's a few odds and sods stored elsewhere, but most of this was confiscated from Cooper's home.
The place was a pigsty.
You arrested him for a string of burglaries and robberies, but you also questioned him about the murders at Coastal Path.
Why? His MO, sir.
We did him for a robbery that was a carbon copy of the Coastal Path.
Robbery, tied—up victim, a shotgun.
That's why we also questioned him about Scoveston Park.
20 years ago, Scoveston Park? 21 years ago now.
December, '85.
Theft, arson and double murder.
Brother and sister.
Richard and Helen Thomas.
The difference was that the killer resorted to arson to cover his tracks.
He started a fire.
He completely destroyed the place.
Tough on evidence gathering.
And even tougher on forensics.
Did Cooper tell you anything in the interviews? Nothing.
When we mentioned the murders, he just shut down.
We had to move on.
With all the lesser of fences, we found almost every single stolen item in his home.
You charge them with what you can prove.
Did you speak to the family? We did.
Yeah, the wife gave us nothing.
She was more frightened of him than us.
The son was useful.
Yeah, he hated his dad, though.
He wanted nothing to do with him.
'The reason your Disability Allowance payment has been delayed 'is because you changed your first name.
' Yeah, eight years ago, by statutory declaration.
gave you people a copy of the certificate! Look I've had enough of this.
Can you get a manager on the line, please? 'I'm not authorised to do that, sir.
'What's your first name, Mr Cooper?' Andrew.
Not Adrian, Andrew.
Andrew Cooper.
And don't talk to me like I'm an idiot.
'Hold the line, please, sir.
' No, please don't 'Please continue to hold.
Your call is important to us.
' Hi, Dad.
Oh, hello! Laundry.
The machine at the salon's on the blink and you're closer than Mum's.
Well good to know I'm useful for something.
"Maximum hold.
" Thank you, love.
The place is looking nice now.
Very tidy.
It'll do, until I find something a bit more permanent.
Do you want to stay, have a bite to eat? Sorry.
Late for the cinema.
OK, love, enjoy yourself.
Jack's really chuffed that you're back.
Is he? Don't try too hard.
Just give him a bit of time.
Right, OK.
I'll pick up the stuff tomorrow.
Hey When did you become so mature? Ages ago.
I'm a girl.
John William Cooper.
Do you know him? Yeah, I've heard of him.
And Operation Huntsman, obviously.
What would you say if I told you his offending kit for the robberies was black gloves, balaclava and shotgun? I'd say Nolton Hill Estate.
The shotgun he used, recovered from a robbery gone wrong in the village of Sardis.
It was the customised shoulder strap which got my attention.
Sawn-off, modified stock.
Jesus, Steve, is it him? Him who? What's going on? Do you remember Nolton Hill? Ten years ago.
A few months before I left.
A masked man with a shotgun attacked five teenagers near the Nolton Hill Estate.
One of the girls was raped.
Another sexually assaulted.
It was never solved.
DI Richards and myself were called in to assist.
The two boys knew about guns.
Yeah, they used to do a bit of rabbiting.
Their description of the shotgun that the attacker used exactly matched that gun.
Hang on.
Back up a bit, Steve.
The last I heard, you were looking at Coastal Path.
I am.
And that led me to this.
'I'll ask you again, John, 'regarding the murders of Peter and Gwenda Dixon 'on the morning of Thursday 29th June, 1989, 'were you the person responsible? 'I am not a murderer.
' Strong accent.
South Pembrokeshire.
Watch this 'John, what about Scoveston Park? 'We have witnesses who say that you knew Richard and Helen Thomas.
'My client is exercising his right to silence.
'John Come on, John, don't be like that.
"John!” Steve ever since Huntsman, gossip has put Cooper in the frame for 101 of fences.
I'm talking about just three.
Coastal Path, Scoveston Park, Nolton Hill.
think he did them all.
Not now, Jack.
Here they come.
How did Operation Huntsman miss all this? They didn't, ma'am.
They questioned Cooper on all three cases and he just stayed mute.
Plus, as I touched on earlier, there was no hard evidence.
Where's your hard evidence, Steve? It's waiting for us to find, ma'am.
Thanks to Huntsman and the original investigations, we have access to over 3,000 exhibits in storage.
That's a potential treasure trove of victim and perpetrator DNA.
At the time of Huntsman, the science wasn't up to scratch on age—degraded trace DNA.
But as we know, things have come a long way since.
Say you get enough to charge him.
Charging a man with the murders of four adults is clear, simple.
But you add five minors, rape, sexual assault, the Crown's case could seem muddled.
The CPS won't like that.
Perhaps it would be wiser to confine the review to the two murders.
With respect, ma"am, I interviewed the five victims as a WDC.
And it made quite an impression on me.
So much so, I've kept tabs on them over the years.
Now, some are doing better than others, but all of them have been scarred for life.
They had their childhood stolen from them that night.
They deserve another chance at justice.
As do all the victims and their families.
All I'm saying is, if you try to prove too much, you could lose everything.
The killings at Scoveston Park and Coastal Path are like two bricks.
And the attacks on the kids is the mortar that holds them together.
It has elements of both cases.
And, ma'am, erm what are the odds that of fences, which share so much similar fact evidence, in such a small area, were committed by more than one man? You know, if we reinvestigate and it doesn't go our way, the media, the public, the families, they'll crucify us.
And if we don't go ahead, it could be far worse.
We've put a call into MAPPA.
A date's been set for his parole hearing.
He could be out in three months.
If he did do these murders, he is, by definition, a serial killer.
And given the opportunity, men like him they always kill again.
The next time you visit, make an effort, will you? You look like an old woman.
Adrian's back.
What? saw Shirley from Birchmede.
Her daughter's a receptionist in the hospital.
Apparently, he was walking with a stick.
A stick? Well, that's gotta be a scam.
Well, that's what she said.
Anyway, Adrian wasn't like that.
He was a worker.
What, you're defending him now, are you, hm? He's dead to us.
Sorry, Andrew.
Did I hurt you? It wasn't you.
It's all right, just relax, I've got you.
28 Rose Meadow Lane.
Cooper's last home before he went inside.
Walk in any direction from this point and you'll hit a home he targeted between '83 and '96.
It's the hub of the wheel.
In this tiny area, 34 burglaries and robberies, one rape of a minor, one indecent assault of a minor and two murders.
If walls could talk.
Been back since? A few times to see how the kids were doing.
So, I was thinking a start—up team of six, including us, cherry—picked from division.
That way, we can keep things covert and it should be easier on our budget.
Mm, sounds like a plan.
really appreciate you bringing me in on this, Steve.
Your reputation brought you in.
WDC to DI in ten years.
Says Mr DS to Superintendent.
The worst years of my life.
Yeah, I was sorry to hear about you and your missus.
It is what it is.
They were so close to home when he attacked them.
It looks so bloody ordinary.
To Operation Ottawa.
To Operation Ottawa.
It's all right.
This is home.
The first rule of Operation Ottawa is you do not talk about Operation Ottawa.
The second rule of Operation Ottawa is? You do not talk about Operation Ottawa.
It's from Fight Club.
It's a film.
Thank you, Barry Norman.
We don't say a word to friends, colleagues or family.
Yeah, they'll get narky with us, but it's the way it has to be.
We don't want Cooper, or the media, seeing us coming.
Boss Cold cases are 99% forensics.
So, we need to do everything we can to help the scientists find that DNA golden nugget, the DNA hit that unites culprit and victim in the same time and place.
Now, our forensics mustn't be tainted by any of the work that's gone before.
Previous investigations had all their testing done in—house by the Forensic Science Service.
But the science has moved on.
We need a fresh pair of eyes on this.
Angela Gallop.
She has been involved in some of the highest profile cases of the last ten years.
Lynette White, Stephen Lawrence, Damilola Taylor.
Dr Gallop and her team are the best in the business.
But they can only find what they're looking for if they look in the right place.
And that's where we come in.
We need to identify which items of evidence are most likely to carry Cooper and/or victim DNA in whatever form.
Skin, hair, saliva, semen, blood.
Now, in an ideal world, there'd be no limit to the amount of exhibits we could send for analysis.
But forensic work is not cheap.
And our budget is finite.
In short, whatever we send needs to be chosen very fucking carefully.
'Our first case tonight s an extraordinary double murder in South Wales.
On the evening of 22nd December, 1985, Richard Thomas and his sister, Helen Thomas, were attacked in their home at Scoveston Park, three miles outside Milford.
'She was shot, probably in her bedroom.
'And it was in that room at about ten o'clock 'that the fire was started.
'Richard Thomas died of shotgun wounds 10 the stomach and the head! Emergency services were called at 1:15am on 23rd of December.
Scene of Crime Officers entered the property the following morning and found Helen Thomas' body on a bed.
It's believed she was sexually assaulted.
On the morning of June 29th, 1989, Peter and Gwenda Dixon were murdered on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path near Little Haven.
The couple from Oxford decided to take a short walk while they waited for their tent to dry.
'Their bodies were found six days later on the cliffs at Little Haven.
'Now, one of Wales' most spectacular beauty spots' Between 7:45pm and 8:45pm on Wednesday 6th March, 1996, five children, aged between 15 and 16, were attacked in a field next to the Norton Hill Estate.
On the evening of November 22nd, 1996, a bungalow in Sardis, six miles from Milford, was burgled.
The victim was confronted by a man in a balaclava.
They were approached by a masked man.
The children were threatened, told to lie on the ground.
One of the girls was raped, another indecently assaulted.
The victim managed to press a panic alarm, causing the offender to flee, depositing personal items as he ran.
These included stolen jewellery, items of clothing, a balaclava, some black gloves and his double—barrel shotgun.
One of the boys was struck in the head with a sawn—off double—barrel shotgun.
Then husband and wife were shot at point—blank range.
Forensic evidence suggests Gwenda Dixon was sexually assaulted at this location here.
Most of the evidence was destroyed in the fire.
They did manage to retrieve a sock belonging to Mr Thomas and a few other items, but that's it.
No DNA would have survived a fire like that.
Just save our money for items more likely to yield a hit.
Coastal Path, Nolton Hill.
But we still need to recover any Scoveston Park exhibits that would support our take on his MO.
Tied—up victims.
The rope used to bind Helen Thomas' hands.
Helen Thomas' bra was torn.
That's sexual assault.
Er, clothing.
Nolton Hill rainbow T—shirt.
Give me ten patch tests on that, corresponding with the victim's bruising.
Coastal Path rope.
'Despite a massive search 'for a suspect seen using the Dixons' cash card Peter Dixon's bank card was used to withdraw cash from NatWest cashpoint machines at Pembroke, Haverfordwest and Carmarthen.
A man wearing shorts was seen by a member of the public making one of these withdrawals.
'From this siting, police made this artist's impression.
' [(Exhibit reference number MT.]
)/14, black balaclava.
Exhibit reference PH/2, double—barrel shotgun.
The Sardis gun, yeah? Yeah.
12 patches tested.
Six on the barrel, six on the stock.
In total, officers recovered 66 items in a fairly straight line from the bungalow in Sardis to 28 Rose Meadow Lane.
The home of John William Cooper.
Dad? Hiya, Jack! Have I come at a bad time? No, no, of course not.
Well let the male bonding commence.
Does your mother know you're here? Yeah.
You don't need to check, Dad, she knows.
You two haven't had a fight, by any chance? Nothing major.
All right.
Well, you know where it is.
Go and unpack.
' Yeah, Steve.
You need to re—route to HQ.
We've got a fly in the ointment.
Jonathan Hill for Steve Wilkins.
Just a moment.
Thank you.
Mr Hill.
Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins, Deputy Head of CID.
Comms referred your query to me.
understand you want to make a programme about the Coastal Path murders.
Erm, actually, it's a bit more specific than that.
Erm, I would like to make a documentary exploring the possibility that the double murders at Coastal Path might be linked to the ones at Scoveston Park in 1985.
That would be a problem for us.
How do you mean? Mr Hill, what I'm about to tell you cannot leave this room.
I'm not in the habit of agreeing to things before I know what they are.
We are re—investigating the two of fences.
Right, and how would a documentary about the murders interfere with that? The killer, or killers, think they've got away with murder.
A news piece would rattle them, make them vigilant.
And that would be weeks of covert police work down the toilet.
So I'll tell you what.
If you agree to shelve your proposed documentary, maintain a news blackout, when we're ready to go public, will see to it that you get the exclusive.
OK, it's a deal.
want Dyfed Powys Police and the media to stop fighting and start collaborating.
But if you fuck me on this, will see to it that every officer from CID to peach—fuzz PC knows that Jonathan Hill is not a man to be trusted.
Boss What the fuck are those? Professional portrait photos.
They had them done in 1978 after he won all that money on the Spot The Ball.
Those teeth don't look real.
They're the only two photographs Huntsman found in the whole house.
I've done a lot of evidence recovery in my time.
Two photos in a family home? It's not right.
Together, but apart.
And their son nowhere to be seen.
You've been the model prisoner, Mr Cooper.
How confident are you that you can maintain this change for the better in the outside world? 100%, your honour.
One of the of fences involved violence towards a woman.
What can you say to reassure us that you no longer pose a threat to the female members of the community? I'm not the same man that I was.
The love and the loyalty of my wife has helped me with that.
Your wife has been a regular visitor.
But your son, Adrian, hasn't visited you once.
haven't been the best father, I admit that.
Although, I do plan to make it up to him, if he'll let me.
I'm 62, Adrian is nearly 40, Craig says that a man is never too old to want his dad.
That's rejected.
Negative for DNA.
That's rejected, too.
Negative for DNA.
Is it just me, or is this beginning to look a bit bloody hopeless? DC Rowe if we can't keep the faith, we have no right representing the victims or their families.
Sorry, boss.
Momentary lapse.
All right.
Yeah, thanks.
Boss Yeah? Cooper's been granted parole.
That was Dyffryn Prison.
They've no idea who they're dealing with.
He's played them.
John Cooper is the prime suspect in a major crime review.
am requesting his release on parole be revoked.
Well, what's the crime? can't share that information.
Well, clearly, you don't have a case, or you'd be charging him.
Cooper is a dangerous man.
That is a matter of public record.
People change.
That's a matter of rehabilitation.
I'm sure your client can be very agreeable when it suits him.
Your timing is not convenient, Superintendent Wilkins.
Can you at least give us a date when you expect to charge him? Not at present.
But in the meantime, John's rights can just go hang? The safety of the public comes first.
think we all agree on that.
Although we've got a stay of execution, he's guaranteed another parole hearing within 3—6 months.
If, by then, Dr Gallop and her team still haven't found our golden nugget, he'll be released.
But we're not gonna let that happen.
It's time to send Cooper a message.
'Good evening.
"Organisers say we're on the eve of the biggest industrial dispute 'since the national strike of 1926.
'So, what's it all about, 'and how will it affect you and your family?' Cheers.
We think one man did all four murders and we need your help to catch him.
want to make a personal televised appeal for information on the evening news.
Do you think you'll get anything useful? It's a smokescreen.
We're going to interview the suspect.
want to use the appeal to send a message to him in advance.
Plant something in his brain, make him good and paranoid.
We're reinvestigating the cases and we are confident we'll catch the culprit using DNA.
Have you found something? No.
But he doesn't know that.
And who better than the killer to help us refine our search? Handled right, liars have a way of telling you more than is good for them.
OK, I'm on board, but just one thing, how can you be sure he'll be watching when you need him to? He's a creature of habit.
have it on good authority that he never misses Wales Tonight.
About the news thing, boss.
Are you gonna mention the kids? Nolton Hill? Definitely not.
Why upset them when we don't even know if the CPS will include the of fence on the indictment? There is someone who we should give a heads—up to, though.
Who is it? Andrew Cooper? Who wants to know? The police.
Thank you.
You're not an easy man to track down.
We were looking for an Adrian, not Andrew Cooper.
get that a lot.
Why did you change your name? Why are you here? We thought we should let you know that we are investigating the possibility that your father may have been involved in other, more serious crimes.
We're going to make a public appeal for information.
don't like people referring to him as my father.
OK, I'm sorry.
What would you prefer? His name.
What other crimes? Four murders.
Scoveston Park and Coastal Path.
I'm not getting dragged back into all that shit again.
told Huntsman everything I know.
'He's got his father's eyes.
Yeah, I clocked that.
Why do you think he only changed his first name? If you wanna lie low, you change your surname.
Maybe it wasn't about lying low.
He changed his name in 1998, the same year Cooper was put away.
Maybe it was about starting again.
A new name, a new life.
Doesn't look like that's working out too well for him.
The poor guy's a wreck.
And then we come along.
Are you OK? Yeah.
It's just you and me having a conversation.
In front of a few hundred thousand people, live.
You know, in my first year at uni, me and some of my mates went camping near here.
It was July 1989.
It was just after the murders.
We saw all the police activity.
The wanted posters.
It was scary.
Fascinating as well.
It's what made me want to become a crime reporter.
Good to go? Let's do it.
'Good evening.
We are live in Pembrokeshire, 'where there have been dramatic developments 'in two of Wales's most baffling crimes 'the murders of Richard and Helen Thomas, 'and Peter and Gwenda Dixon.
'And now, decades on, 'these two double murders are being reinvestigated.
'Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins 'is the man leading this reinvestigation.
' "Developments in DNA analysis have revolutionised cold case reviews.
"As a team, we have brought these processes to bear 'on these two investigations 'and they have had a significant impact.
"We believe that somebody watching this programme tonight 'may know who is responsible for these terrible crimes.
"And I'm appealing to them, "for the sake of the victims and their families, 'to please come forward.
' 'And do you think it's the same local man 'responsible for all four murders?' "do believe that, Jonathan.
'Thanks to the advances in DNA forensic science, "we are now in a much stronger position 'to catch the person responsible.
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