Is The Pembrokeshire Murders serial killer John Cooper still alive?

What happened to the real-life people from the ITV miniseries?

The Pembrokeshire Murders
(Image credit: ITV)

The Pembrokeshire Murders serial killer John Cooper existed in real-life and since the ITV show's final episode aired, many viewers might be wondering what really happened to him. Based on true events, the true-crime drama was made all the more chilling and emotional because of this. Starring Luke Evans as Senior Investigating Officer Steve Wilkins and Keith Allen as serial killer John Cooper, the ITV show focuses on a series of murders that took place in Wales in the late 1980s and the attempt to bring John Cooper to justice. 

Following a particularly shocking cliffhanger ending to episode two, many viewers might have been left wondering what happened to John Cooper's wife.  The truth was soon revealed, however, as the final episode opened with the revelation that Pat Cooper died the day that her husband returned home from prison. 

The episode continued, with evidence being found against John Cooper very quickly and the serial killer being apprehended by the police. We then saw the court proceedings that resulted in his lifetime imprisonment. But is John Cooper still alive today? And what happened to the real-life victims of John Cooper?

Here we have the answers to all the questions the emotional final episode left you asking...

Keith Allen in ITV's The Pembrokeshire Murders

(Image credit: ITV)

Is The Pembrokeshire Murders serial killer John Cooper still alive?

John Cooper, the real-life serial killer behind the Pembrokeshire Murders is still alive. He is now 76 years old and still serving time in prison. He was jailed for the crimes discussed in the series in 2011. Cooper quickly launched an appeal against his sentence that was rejected in 2012. 

The prison where he is being held has not been disclosed to the public, but he is serving a life sentence for four convictions of murder, rape, sexual assault, and attempted robbery.

He has also been sentenced to a whole life order, which means that he will never be released from prison. 

What happened to John Cooper's son?

John Cooper named his son Adrian and he later changed his name to Andrew Cooper in an attempt to distance himself from his killer father. Andrew Cooper, as he is now known, has tried to distance himself from his father and continues to stay out of the public eye. 

He spoke to the writer of the ITV drama, Nick Stevens, as he claimed he wanted to ‘set the record straight.’ 

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Speaking to the press, writer Nick Stevens stated, “Meeting with Andrew and spending a lot of time with him, delivered an additional storyline, not in the book [written by Steve Wilkins and Jonathan Hill], which I think enriches the eventual drama.

He continued: “I was quite apprehensive about the first meeting, here I am a TV writer wanting to burrow into the darkest recesses of this man’s private life and he was never anything but totally generous and open. He saw this as an opportunity to set the record straight, to tell his side of the story. He had a score to settle with his absent father and he saw this drama as an opportunity to do precisely that.”

Did John Cooper really try to implicate his son in the trial?

This aspect of the show is correct, as John Cooper tried to pass the blame from himself onto his son Adrian, now called Andrew. In the court proceedings, John Cooper made several attempts to cast suspicion on his own son Andrew.  

Andrew stood as a prosecution witness at his father's trial and gave a damning testimony that his father would take long walks at night with a concealed shotgun under his jacket.

Interestingly the show focuses on just Andrew Cooper. In real-life, the serial killer and his wife actually also had a daughter, Theresa, who was omitted from the ITV series. 

What happened to Steve Wilkins?

Steve Wilkins (played by Luke Evans in the series) went on to write a book about his series with journalist Jonathan Hill (played by David Fynn). This book is titled The Pembrokeshire Murders and became the pivotal focus for the ITV writers when creating the drama of the same name. 

Wilkins told Wales Online that he was overjoyed that Luke Evans had been cast to play him in the television series. 

Luke Evans in ITV's The Pembrokeshire Murders

(Image credit: ITV)

Wilkins stated, “When they came and said ‘Luke Evans is going to be in it’ I was really surprised that someone like him wanted to do it. When I met him I realized why. Lots of people were joking saying people like Johnny Vegas should play me.”

Steve Wilkins also commended ITV for their sensitivity in handling the retelling of events, he stated: “I looked at it as I wanted to maintain the relationship I have with the families and they were very sensitive, what I didn’t want was anything that was sensationalism so they stuck very closely to the details.”