Pembrokeshire Murders’ Luke Evans reveals shock at the horrific truth about ‘monster’ killer too brutal to be told on TV

THE full horrific truth about the killer behind The Pembrokeshire Murders was too brutal to be told in the new ITV series, according to its star Luke Evans.

The Hollywood actor, who takes on the role of the newly-promoted detective superintendent Steve Wilkins, said the writers behind the drama were unable to reveal more about the serial killer John Cooper.

Cooper, who is played by Keith Allen in the new show, claimed the lives of siblings Richard and Helen Thomas along with Peter and Gwenda Dixon, who had been on holiday in the area.

He was behind a catalogue of crimes, including 30 robberies and violent assaults, along with the gunpoint rape of a 16-year-old girl and the sexual assault of a 15-year-old, also with a gun pointed at her back in 1996.

Luke said: “That man is a monster.“There are things we can’t even put into the story; it was so brutal.

“Not even about the things we are talking about, other things. It’s extraordinary what he did.”

Cooper was given a full life sentence in the wake of his hideous crime wave, which was brought to an end by the detective work of Wilkins and his Dyfed-Powys Police team after 26 years.

The judge in the case said he had perpetrated “such evil wickedness” that only four whole life sentences would suffice during his 2011 trial.

Luke added: “There aren’t many life sentences that mean life anymore. For him, it absolutely should and will be a life sentence.

“The wonderful thing about this story is that it proves that the police force and the detective and the CID is that they put dangerous people away.

“You see how they do it, you see their method and their journey and how they fail and they keep going.

“That dangerous man is away now, it’s to do with this teamwork.

“These interesting and clever people come together and Steve (Wilkins) worked out which ones could do the job. It is an extraordinary story.

“Luke had been on the set of a murder mystery in Montreal, when he was handed the three-page treatment about the story.

"He revealed he had been inspired to get involved in the TV project as he wanted to be reunited with the director Marc Evans, who he had previously worked on a series of commercials with.

“It got my heart racing,” he said. “All in all, you don’t get scripts like this very often.

“For me it was a no-brainer to get involved with it. I wanted to work for Marc for ages, we’ve worked on a few adverts together – this just looked like the perfect thing.

“It’s always nice -always enjoyable to do something real, even though it’s a tragic story.”

Cooper’s crimes led him to become one of the most notorious killers in modern Welsh history.

He was also dubbed the Bullseye killer following his appearance on the hit show around the time of the murders.

Luke describes the superintendent as “an impressive man” following his decision to relook at the case following two years working with the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

Wilkins had a haunch that John Cooper who was serving a 16-year sentence for armed robbery could be responsible for the crimes.

“He saw there was this extremely terrible scar that was not healing, which were these two double murders which were unsolved and 25 years old,” he said.

“A man who basically, once he’s got an idea and hit a target he will keep going until he hits it.

“And that’s what he saw with these unsolved murders, he could see that there was something that was not right – he could see there was more needed to be found.

“It needed the right people, the time, money and a little bit of luck I think and intuition and expertise, which came with his experience in the business.

“But there were times in this story when everyone around him is doubting.

“They have lost all their opportunities; they have spent all their money on forensic testing, nothing has come back positive.

"He’s hanging onto tiny threads which most people would have gone it has to stay cold, we have nothing to go on.

“And he kept going – to his benefit it all worked out. He’s revered in the police force for doing what he did, it’s extraordinary.”

He added: “What’s brilliant about this story is it’s not a straightforward crime-solving find the killer and put him in prison kind of story.

“It uses tools that you do not necessarily see used in investigations. This is so clever.

“Who would have thought they were talking like this and the killer was going to watching the Wales at 6 that night [which told of the reopening of the case].

“Planting those seeds – simple but you never hear of that being done. I’m sure it does get done, you know.

“It’s wonderful to see the insight of the investigation and the detail that it went to plan it to make sure the seeds were planted and the doubt was planted and the paranoia was planted.”

But he reveals the investigation took its toll on the detective at the heart of the investigation.

Luke said: “His drive and real commitment to the job. His absolute integrity and awareness of the responsibility that a detective has.

"You’re basically taking on the responsibility of finding the killer of a terrible crime, and finding the answers and people responsibility for the terrible crime, of another human’s life.“

"And he took that as a huge responsibility. There’s a detective’s code which he had on his wall in his office, which we have in my office in the show.

“It’s a powerful thing that he always looked at.“He took his job extremely seriously.

“But apparently what was wonderful about him was he didn’t mind having a laugh and he was very good at allowing people to have their family lives because he had kids as well.

“I think he struggled, he lost his partner and they divorced during this period because work took so much effort, it’s part of our story as well.

“You see a tug-of-war a man especially in this industry which drags you out of your normal life, you spend ridiculous hours in the office and sacrificing so many things.

“He didn’t want his team to do that.“He brought a humanity to that team and people loved him, people really respected him.

“There’s not a bad word said about Steve Wilkins, that’s a really lovely thing.“It’s really inspiring.”

The Pembrokeshire Murders is available to watch on the ITV Hub

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