Family of drowned pensioner fear she was victim of ‘Bullseye Killer’ John Cooper
Relatives of a frail widow feared to be the fifth victim of Bullseye killer John Cooper are calling for her death to be reinvestigated, 31 years on.
Evil Cooper befriended Flo Evans before her body was found fully-clothed in a cold bath at the cottage where she lived alone.
Her country home was just a walk across the fields from where the killer lived in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.
A coroner ruled that the 77-year-old had accidentally fallen in the bath and drowned but Flo’s family say that too many things about her death in 1989 do not add up.
And the ex-police chief who finally caged handyman Cooper for killing two couples revealed this week that he fears Flo may have been his victim.
Speaking exclusively to the Sunday People, Flo’s niece Jean Murphy said: “I’m glad the police are finally suspecting Cooper – it is what we’ve always thought.
“We could never understand why Aunt Flo was found dead in the bath with all her clothes on.
“Money was missing, she didn’t have her false teeth in, the TV wasn’t switched off properly and the front door was open.
“Cooper knew my aunt, he visited her regularly and would have known there was always money in her handbag and more hidden upstairs.
“The biggest mystery is that she always lit a fire in the kitchen to heat the water before taking a bath – and that fire wasn’t lit.
“They are all little things but we knew her so well and it all points to Cooper.”
The handyman was given a whole life sentence in 2011 for shooting hikers Peter and Gwenda Dixon on the Pembrokeshire coastal path in 1989 and brother and sister Helen and Richard Thomas at their Pembrokeshire farmhouse in 1985.
The motive in both cases was robbery. Just a month before the Dixons were murdered, Cooper appeared on the TV darts quiz show Bullseye, fronted by Jim Bowen.
His brutal crimes went undetected for decades until Det Supt Steve Wilkins took over serious crime at Dyfed-Powys police in 2006 and launched a cold case review.
New DNA and forensics technology led to Cooper finally being convicted in 2011, as well as a recording of his Bullseye appearance, in which he matched witnesses’ descriptions.
But DS Wilkins, 61, who is now retired, still wonders about Flo’s death.
He said: “I know Cooper had been at her house on the day she died – that troubles me greatly.”
Niece Jean, 80, is thought to have been the last person to see her alive.
Together, they watched foxhounds at a hunt on February 4, 1989 in the village of Rosemarket.
Jean remembers Cooper doing odd jobs for her aunt and said he knew that Flo’s great-niece Jill would stay with her three nights a week, but never on a Saturday – the day she died.
Another of Flo’s great-nieces, Rena Murphy, 59, said: “I went the police when he was arrested for the killings to say that Aunt Flo lived in walking distance across the fields – which is how he got to all the other victims.
“It’s taken 31 years but now it looks like the police suspect what we’ve always suspected – Aunt Flo was killed by John Cooper.” Jean added: “Hopefully, the police will reopen the case. It would give us some closure.”
DS Wilkins’ hunt for Cooper will be told in a three-part ITV drama called The Pembrokeshire Murders.
The show, which sees Keith Allen play the killer, is due to be screened later this month.