‘The Pembrokeshire Murders’ came to its gripping conclusion tonight as Steve Wilkins (Luke Evans) and his team found what they needed to put John Cooper (Keith Allen) back in prison.
If you want to avoid spoilers, stop reading now.
The opening of the episode replayed the scenes of Cooper arriving home and greeting his terrified wife Pat (Caroline Berry). We also saw Andrew (Oliver Ryan) getting his tattoo and Steve watching the episode of ‘Bullseye’ that confirmed Cooper’s appearance at the time of the murders.
We then heard Cooper calling the police but unlike last night’s episode, we heard him say that his wife had collapsed. The next day Steve and DI Ella Richards (Alexandria Riley) arrived at the Cooper residence and inspected the body of Pat, who was dead. Steve informed the team to treat Cooper as any grieving husband, suggesting he may not have killed his wife.
Steve briefed the team about Pat’s death and he refocused them on finding the khaki shorts that could tie Cooper to the murders. The team visited Cooper’s hunting ground to search and dig in a bid to uncover the shorts. As they were looking, Steve received a call from the pathologist, who confirmed that Pat had died from natural causes.
Andrew spoke to Steve and Richards, and he said he knew his mother had been preparing her own funeral knowing that she wouldn’t survive Cooper coming home. Steve offered to help Andrew at the funeral but he declined and said he would see his mother in his own time. As they left Steve blamed himself for Pat’s death but Richards tried to comfort him.
Cooper was allowed back in his home and he brought a bag of beer with him, which he stood drinking in the spot where Pat’s body was found. The funeral took place with Cooper in attendance but Andrew staying away as he promised he would do. Back home Cooper was burning things outside the house.
Steve, meanwhile, continued looking through photos and evidence desperately searching for a clue. He noticed in one photo that there was a pair of khaki shorts and then noticed another picture was also of khaki shorts but a different colour.
Rushing back to the evidence locker, they retrieved the shorts and they were indeed the item they’d been looking for. Richards determined that they were women’s shorts but pointed out they were shorter than the ones in the sketch. Steve told her to send them for testing.
Steve received a call from the forensics lab while he was driving. He was told to pull over and it was revealed that a tiny flake of blood was found on the shorts when the hem was unpicked. The blood matched that of Peter Dixon, giving Steve the ‘golden nugget’ he’d been looking for. That meant that Steve was now free to charge Cooper with all of the crimes they believed him linked to.
While the police raided his home, Cooper was arrested as he left an off-licence. He had his charges read to him and back at his house, the team found evidence that Cooper was planning to carry out another crime.
Steve and Richards faced Cooper in an interrogation room where they showed him a screengrab from ‘Bulleseye’ along with the khaki shorts. Cooper continued to deny the sketch was him so Richards went in hard on the questioning. She then explained that they’d unpicked the shorts and knew Pat used to work as a seamstress.
Steve took over the questioning and highlighted that Peter Dixon’s blood had been found on the shorts. When he asked for an explanation, Cooper replied by pointing the finger at Andrew again. Steve continued by revealing that they found DNA evidence from Cooper in the pockets of the shorts and he surprised him by telling him they found some gloves near the crime scenes.
Cooper continued to deny it and Steve explained that the DNA from the shorts matched those on the other garments, and a sock from another of his victims, Richard Thomas, that also had DNA evidence. Steve asked about the murders of Richard and Helen Thomas, and Cooper still denied it. Richards then presented Cooper with a pair of knickers from a young girl that was raped, that also had DNA evidence on them. As Richards continued to ask him to confirm what he’d done, Cooper remained silent.
Steve then turned the conversation to the sawn-off shotgun and the tin of paint. He asked if Cooper applied the paint to the gun. Steve revealed that when the paint was stripped off the gun, they found Peter Dixon’s blood. When Steve asked if he murdered Peter and his wife, Cooper walked away and turned away from them.
Following the interview Richards and Steve visited a woman named Erin Davies (Amy Morgan), who was the woman that Cooper had raped. They told her that they had found the man that hurt her and her friends, and appealed to her to help them. Erin refused to take part in the trial but Richards explained that she wouldn’t have to see Cooper or go to court, just give evidence by video link. Erin told them she hadn’t told her husband she was raped but a couple of the other people who were assaulted by Cooper did agree to testify.
The trial commenced as the prosecution explained how Gwenda Dixon always carried a spare pair of shorts when she went walking but none were found on her person. It was explained that Cooper took off his blood-stained trousers and wore Gwenda’s shorts, unaware they had a speck of Peter’s blood on them.
Andrew arrived at the courthouse as the prosecution continued to tell the jury how Cooper wore Gwenda’s shorts for days after the murder when he withdrew money from their bank account. Cooper looked stony-faced as the prosecution continued, shaking his head as the screengrab of ‘Bullseye’ was shown next to the sketch that was drawn at the time.
Andrew was taken to a private room where he would be questioned by video link. Steve asked why Andrew changed his name from Adrian, and Andrew explained that it was because his dad gave him the name. Andrew was questioned about wearing his father’s clothes, and he denied it but did admit that he wore gloves just like his father did. The defence accused Andrew of stealing money from his parents and said he used to forge his parents’ signatures.
The interview was paused briefly due to technical details and the defence continued to paint Andrew as a bitter son with a vendetta against his father. Andrew lost his temper as the accusations continued to be made.
Erin and one of the other girls who was assaulted by Cooper arrived at the courthouse and insisted on giving evidence in person rather than via video link. Erin’s friend recounted what had happened on the day they were assaulted, describing a man who ran at them with a torch. We also heard from Erin who described a man wearing a balaclava who was waving a shotgun at her and her friends. She said he hit one of her friends and then took them somewhere they wouldn’t be seen, alluding to the rape he committed.
Erin was asked how reliable her memory was of the events and she commented that she remembered it like it was yesterday. When she was asked if the man ever removed his mask, she said he didn’t and that she never saw his face.
Cooper took to the stand to paint a very different picture of who he was. He explained that Andrew was a ‘bad seed’ and he believed his wife to have died due to the pain she’d been put through by him being imprisoned for crimes he didn’t commit. He pleaded with the jury not to put him in prison, again saying he had committed no crimes.
The prosecution asked to question Cooper, which caught him off guard. The balaclava was shown to the jury and then handed to Cooper. He was asked if it was his balaclava and he said it was his but insisted he had taken part in no crimes. The prosecutor pointed out that he lied under oath during his last trial and asked if he was lying them or if he was lying now. Cooper became flustered as the prosecution continued to ask the same question over and over. The judge interjected and Cooper admitted he lied to the jury during his previous trial.
The jury were sent to consider their verdicts based on the evidence that had been presented. While they deliberated Steve sat anxiously at home, writing his statements in preparation for speaking to the press. Before the verdict arrive, Steve revealed he would be resigning if Cooper was found innocent.
The court was recalled to hear the verdict. Steve instructed the team to react with dignity to the verdict, whatever it was, and as they took their seats Andrew entered the court to watch.
The foreman was asked if the jury had reached a verdict and he confirmed they had come to an agreement. When asked, count by count, if they found Cooper guilty the foreman said they did to the first 5 counts. When the rape charge was found guilty, Cooper started shouting and he had some supporters in the stands. Cooper was found guilty to all 11 counts and he reacted by shouting and swearing at the judge, insisting he was being persecuted by Steve.
After the verdict, Steve addressed the press and said Cooper being found guilty should be a warning to those considering committing crimes as a warning that DNA evidence will always find them out. Staying true to his word, Steve gave Jonathan (David Fynn) an exclusive.
As Steve was packing up the base the team had been working from, he was visited by Jack (Steffan Cennydd) who told him that he’d decided sixth form wasn’t for him. Steve asked if his mother knew and Jack said she did and she blamed him. Jack then told his father he was thinking about joining the police as he wasn’t going to be good enough to progress with football.
In the final scene Andrew went to the graveyard where Pat was buried and left flowers on her grave. He said ‘I should have stayed’ and expressed regret about the way their relationship deteriorated before her death.
‘The Pembrokeshire Murders’ is now available to watch on ITV Hub.