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The Pembrokeshire Murders boss reveals jaw-dropping moment pub landlord provided missing piece to serial killer puzzle

THE Pembrokeshire Murders boss has revealed the jaw-dropping moment a pub landlord provided the missing piece to the serial killer puzzle.

The ITV drama is based on a real series of murders that took place in the 80s in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

WORLD PRODUCTIONS/ITV
The Pembrokeshire Murders boss has revealed how a pub landlord provided the missing piece to the serial killer puzzle[/caption]

The show looks at a cold case investigation called Operation Ottawa which saw two double murders take place, the first on Pembrokeshire residents and the second on tourists.

The drama stars Luke Evans as DCI Steve Wilkins who reopens the investigation, while Keith Allen plays the killer, John Cooper, who was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment for his crimes in 2011.

The case has many twists and turns as the police desperately try to get enough evidence to find Cooper guilty, and Executive Producer Simon Heath has revealed how one moment in particular turned out to be crucial.

He said during a Q&A for the show: “What John Cooper had cleverly done was destroy all photos of himself from that era.

WORLD PRODUCTIONS/ITV
Keith Allen plays serial killer John Cooper in the ITV drama [/caption]
Cooper got rid of any photos of himself from the time of his murders in the 1980s
WORLD PRODUCTIONS/ITV
Luke Evans plays the policeman who reopened the cold case and found a picture of Cooper in a pub [/caption]

“So there was no contemporary reference point to put Cooper next to the artist’s impression. And that was an ongoing problem for Steve, regardless of the forensic evidence that he was starting to carve out.

“And then he discovered almost at random after one of these boys football matches that the pub he was in was the pub that Cooper used to play darts at.”

He continued: “And there was a picture of Cooper on the board, he was a captain of the darts team. And the landlord ticked him off that actually.”

The revelation lead the team to unearth archive footage of Cooper appearing on the popular darts show, Bullseye, in 1989.

WORLD PRODUCTIONS/ITV
Cooper had been part of the pub’s dart team and the snap lead to the cops finding archive footage of him on Bullseye in 1989[/caption]

Simon said: “So with the help of [journalist] Jonathan [Hill] who had been reporting on the case, they tracked down the footage to the ITV archive in Leeds.”

The show then faced the challenge of incorporating the Bullseye footage into the drama, and Simon explained: “What we actually did was superimposed through VFX, a de-aged image of Keith Allen, onto the original footage of Cooper.

“And I think, you know, testament to the technical guys, they’ve done a fantastic job, and it’s extremely convincing.”

The Pembrokeshire Murders starts tonight at 9pm on ITV.





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