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

ITV’s new drama leaves viewers on a cliffhanger - but what happened to John Cooper's wife?

Luke Evans for The Pembrokeshire Murders
(Image credit: ITV)

ITV's The Pembrokeshire Murders launched on Monday night, with 6.3 million of us tuning in. But last night's episode had everyone asking: What happened to John Cooper's wife? 

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

The ITV show has released a new episode every night this week, and the final instalment of the series will broadcast tonight.  

Fans were left on tenterhooks after last night’s episode finished on a cliffhanger. The episode saw the serial killer John Cooper return home from prison to his loving, but fearful, wife Pat Cooper. 

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 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?”

As this series is based on a true story, many of us are wondering if the real-life serial killer did in fact kill his wife - and what happened to John Cooper's wife, Pat?

What happened to John Cooper's wife?

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 in the series), told 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.”

When questioned if it was possible that her husband was involved in her death, Wilkins replied, “There was nothing linking her death to Cooper though. You can imagine – I got the call at 3 am 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."

Fans have been questioning, is John Cooper, the serial killer, is still alive? John Cooper is still alive today and is serving a life sentence in prison for four murders, rape, sexual assalt, and attempted robbery.

Fans have been wondering, is The Pembrokeshire Murders based on a true story? The simple answer is yes, but like 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.”

It is therefore unclear if they will dramatize the circumstances of Pat Cooper’s death as the series continues. 

The three-part miniseries concludes tonight on ITV at 9pm.