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  1. ITV Report

Judgment due on whether 'Bullseye Killer' John Cooper can appeal

A jury found that John Cooper committed a double murder four weeks after appearing on television show 'Bullseye' Photo: ITV Studios Ltd

The Court of Appeal will hand down its judgment on whether 'The Bullseye Killer' John Cooper can appeal his life sentence for four murders in Pembrokeshire in the 1980s.

In May 2011, a jury at Swansea Crown Court found him guilty of murdering brother and sister Richard and Helen Thomas in their home near Milford Haven in 1985. He was also convicted of shooting dead husband and wife Peter and Gwenda Dixon on a coastal path in Little Haven in 1989, just four weeks after appearing on ITV programme 'Bullseye.'

(l-r) Richard and Helen Thomas, and Peter and Gwenda Dixon Credit: ITV News Wales

Judgment on whether he will be allowed to appeal was reserved from a hearing of the Court of Appeal's Criminal Division, sitting at Cardiff Crown Court, two weeks ago.

At the hearing, Cooper's legal team claimed the jury that convicted him last year was 'profoundly misdirected' and that there was 'clear room for confusion in the jury's mind' during the trial. His barrister questioned the comparison of how he looked in the 'Bullseye' programme footage with an artist's impression of the suspect in the killings of Peter and Gwenda Dixon.

Cooper's application relates to the comparison of his appearance on TV with the artist's impression of the suspect Credit: ITV Studios / Dyfed-Powys Police

The artist's impression was created from witness reports of a man who withdrew money from their account. Cooper's barrister said descriptions relating to a previous conviction for robbery were also conflicting. The court heard that Cooper said: 'if, in fact, the perpetrator by those descriptions doesn't relate to me, the forensic evidence is irrelevant.' Members of the Dixon family were in court to hear the application, as was John Cooper's brother.

Cooper's barrister, Mark Evans QC, told the Court of Appeal judges that there were 'inadequacies of descriptions given. The error in submission is the cornerstone of the defendant's case.' It is on this issue of identification that Cooper is basing his application for leave to appeal his convictions.

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