What happened to John Cooper's wife? The truth behind The Pembrokeshire Murders cliffhanger revealed

The show had a dramatic cliffhanger - but what happened to John Cooper's wife?

Luke Evans in ITV's The Pembrokeshire Murders
(Image credit: ITV)

What happened to John Cooper's wife? is a question you might just find yourself asking if you've just caught up on ITV's The Pembrokeshire Murders. The hit true-crime miniseries' first episode launched in January with 6.3 million viewers tuning in. If you're a fan of Lupin or thriller Behind Her Eyes, but you're looking for a new drama to immerse yourself in, then the dark twists and turns of The Pembrokeshire Murders might just be what you're looking for. 

However, the ITV show's storyline is made truly chilling as it's based on a true story. Knowing this, many viewers were no doubt even more eager to see serial killer John Cooper be brought to justice for his crimes. 

And viewers were certainly left on tenterhooks by The Pembrokeshire Murders episode 2 cliffhanger, which left one question in particular on many people's minds - what happened to John Cooper's wife? 

Warning: spoilers ahead!

What happened in The Pembrokeshire Murders episode 2 ending?

The final episode of The Pembrokeshire Murders saw serial killer John Cooper return home from prison to his loving, but fearful, wife Pat. In the final scenes of the show, Pat ran a bath and locked the door as John tried to persuade her to let him join her in the tub. 

The show then cut to another storyline. When the program finally focused back on the Coopers, we could hear John Cooper calling 999, and breathing heavily down the phone as the caller asked: “999, which service? Hello?”

Caroline Berry in ITV's The Pembrokeshire Murders

(Image credit: ITV)

It was later confirmed in the final episode of the miniseries that Pat had died, though it mentioned that John was not responsible and that Pat had health issues.

With viewers aware that The Pembrokeshire Murders is based on a true story, this tense cliffhanger ending will certainly have got more than a few people wondering what happened to John Cooper's wife in real-life?

What happened to John Cooper's wife in real-life?

The truth is that John Cooper did not kill his wife, but she did die the same day that he returned from prison after being allowed out on parole.

Pat Cooper suffered from underlying health conditions, which led to her sudden death after her husband’s return. 

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Detective Chief Superintendant Steve Wilkins (played by Luke Evans), spoke to Wales Online about the circumstances behind Pat’s death. 

Wilkins states, "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.”

Luke Evans in ITV's The Pembrokeshire Murders

(Image credit: ITV)

Explaining how John wasn't involved in her death, Wilkins replied, “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."

What happened to The Pembrokeshire Murders killer John Cooper in real-life? 

After watching the series, fans may well have been curious to discover if serial killer John Cooper is still alive. Having been brought to justice, John Cooper is still alive today and is serving a life sentence in prison for four murders, rape, sexual assalt, and attempted robbery.

The Pembrokeshire Murders is based on a true story, however, as with any adaptation, there are some inconsistencies. ITV has made it clear that although they have kept the series close to the truth, they have embellished certain aspects of the show. They state, “Some of the characters and events portrayed have been altered for the purpose of dramatization and to protect anonymity where appropriate.”

The Pembrokeshire Murders is available to watch now on the ITV Hub. 

Laura Harman
Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty and fashion news, and her favourite stories to cover as anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found baking, hiking with her dog, shopping, and practicing yoga.