ITV's Crime and Punishment season continued with another gripping crime documentary this evening (July 12) as Good Morning Britain's Susanna Reid explored a cold case inquiry into one of Britain's most prolific serial killers.
The Gameshow Serial Killer: Police Tapes shed light on the investigation into John Cooper, who was convicted of four counts of murder in 2011, more than 20 years after he committed the crimes between 1985 and 1989.
The chilling story of how one man thought he got away with murder.- ITV (@ITV) July 12, 2018
Crime and Punishment continues with The Game Show Serial Killer: Police Tapes. Tonight 9pm @ITV #CrimeAndPunishment @susannareid100 pic.twitter.com/iofLC5kvjJ
Through interviews with the investigating team and the use of behind-the-scenes police footage, Police Tapes revealed the cat and mouse game that Pembrokeshire detectives were involved in as they attempted to prove that Cooper had murdered four people using advances in forensic testing.
Cooper's case is particularly well-known for its links to game show Bullseye, as the team of police who picked up the cold case famously used a freeze frame from an episode that Cooper had featured on in 1989 to help identify the killer.
"What we managed to do then was freeze John Cooper in exactly the same position as the artist's impression, and for me, it was like a tracing," Detective Chief Supt Steve Wilkins said of the discovery.
A murderer who was on Bullseye? You’ve got me ITV, I’m in #GameShowSerialKiller- Lovers (@jonloveridge83) July 12, 2018
I nearly missed #thegameshowserialkiller I find these documentaries fascinating. I should've been a Criminologist.- ♑Deborah Whatford ✌Ⓥ (@4eyedcow) July 12, 2018
Amazing how they can tie up these cold cases without DNA/CCTV from 20 years prior. How can a suspect be expected to remember where they were on a specific day and time if they ARE innocent? #CrimeAndPunishment- Dan Harvey (@HarvsTheDuck) July 12, 2018
Just watched #thegameshowserialkiller #policetapes- Stuart James (@StuartJames73) July 12, 2018
What an incredible story. Cannot believe how evil John Cooper is.
Love @susannareid100 presenting this show.
One of the best programmes on telly.
Well done to all the team.
Watching #GameShowSerialKiller #PoliceTapes @susannareid100 Brilliant insightful documentary about a cold callous murderer in my beautiful home county Pembrokeshire who thought he could get away with it, thank god for forensics!- Tyrone Hook 📷 (@TySweetChilli) July 12, 2018
Very , very interesting. Forensic advances ha been a remarkable tool for police #gameshowserialkiller- Jacqui (@jacquicotter) July 12, 2018
Cooper was ultimately caught out after a new round of fibre testing on clothes from the murder scenes revealed a fragment of blood that matched one of the murder victim's DNA and forensics managed to link the murder weapon to Cooper too, giving investigators enough to charge Cooper and take the case to trial.
He was convicted of four murders, as well as the previously unsolved rape of a 16-year-old girl and a sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl, and is currently serving life without parole, one of the few British prisoners to be doing so.
The Gameshow Serial Killer: Police Tapes aired on ITV.
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland's helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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