ITV’s three-part drama The Pembrokeshire Murders came to a close last night.
The series – based on real-life events – wrapped up with serial killer John Cooper (played by Keith Allen) being locked up for two cold-case double murders from the 1980s, after DS Steve Wilkins (Luke Evans) managed to find further evidence against him.
And throughout the drama viewers saw how John controlled his wife Pat (Caroline Berry) through fear, and in shocking scenes how she died on the night he returned home from prison for a previous crime.
Viewers saw distressed Pat lock herself in the bathroom as soon as her husband got home and scenes unfolded where she ran a bath and asked John not to enter the bathroom as she was “shy”.
The second episode then dramatically wrapped with John making a call to 999 – leaving viewers horrified that he had ended her life.
Not much was said on the cause of Pat’s death in episode three – apart from that John was not responsible and that she had health issues.
So did Cooper kill Pat?
The real-life Detective Chief Superintendant Steve Wilkins explained the circumstances behind Pat’s death in 2008 and confirmed that it was not down to evil John.
The detective revealed that he believes Pat “gave up” when John re-entered their home and added that there was “nothing linking” the death to her husband.
Wilkins told Wales Online: “Cooper came out of prison, moved back in with his wife, and 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.”
Explaining how John was in the clear for his wife’s death, Steve continued: “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.”
In 1985, siblings Richard and Helen Thomas were slain in a double killing and just four years later, Peter and Gwenda Dixon were murdered by vile Cooper.
The murders were known as the Pembrokeshire murders, or the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path murders, but Welsh serial killer Cooper was only convicted in May 2011 when fresh evidence was brought to light.
After managing to unearth footage of Cooper on the darts game show Bullseye, which revealed what he looked like just a month after committing the horrific double murder, DS Steve Wilkins managed to find further evidence.
This included a tiny splash of blood from shotgun victim Peter Dixon found in the hem of Cooper’s shorts, which had been sewn up to hide the stain.
Cooper was convicted for the double murders and sexual assaults and subsequently sentenced to a life order, meaning that he will never be released from prison.
*Pembrokeshire Murders is available to rewatch on ITV Hub