1. ITV Report

Two murder conviction appeals rejected

John Pope and John Cooper's appeals have been dismissed Photo: ITV News Wales

Two of Wales's most notorious murderers have had their appeals dismissed.

Farm labourer John Cooper was given a whole life jail term for two double murders that stunned west Wales in the 1980s.

He evaded justice for decades, but modern DNA and fibre examination techniques saw him brought to justice earlier this year.

John Pope was jailed after a retrial for the 1996 murder of Karen Skipper, whose partially clothed body was found in the River Ely in Fairwater, Cardiff, with her hands tied behind her back.

Pope had his murder conviction quashed in 2009 by the Court of Appeal, but he was found guilty after a retrial two years later.

Pope had his appeal against conviction dismissed and Cooper his application to appeal dismissed by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting at Cardiff Crown Court.

In the case of Pope, the Lord Chief Justice published an 11-page document outlining the case and his reasons for refusal.

The case presented to the jury was that blood found on Mrs Skipper's clothes could not get on to (them) by the way suggested by the appellant.

The blood was deposited when the jeans were open and in the process of being taken down. That occurred when Mrs Skipper was being attacked by her killer.

– The Lord Chief Justice's reasons for refusing John Pope's appeal

Cooper, who police linked with the double murderers in west Wales following a string of robberies referred to as "the Huntsmen offences", had his application for an appeal thrown out.

The defence case was the applicant had been wrongly convicted of the Huntsman offences and that he was not guilty of the present offences.

The jury no doubt considered his (Cooper's) evidence carefully before deciding his guilt was proved.

The application for leave to appeal against conviction was refused by a single judge. We (the court of appeal) agree with him. This renewed application will similarly be refused.

– The Lord Chief Justice's reasons for refusing John Cooper's appeal

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