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Synopsis

In the words of the detective chief superintendent who led it, this recollection tells the story of Operation Ottawa, the cold case investigation of John Cooper for two Pembrokeshire double homicides: the Scoveston Manor murder of Richard and Helen Thomas in 1985 and the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path murder of Peter and Gwenda Dixon in 1989. Retired DCS Steve Wilkins describes how he gathered a specialist team to review the murders and used cutting edge forensic techniques to prove Cooper’s involvement in the crimes, and discusses the role the television program Bullseye played in identifying the killer. The dramatic narrative features psychological profiling and intimidation on Cooper’s part and highlights the relationship between the police and the media in the arrest and the travails of the victims’ families during the long years the cases went unsolved. The combination of painstaking evidence gathering, new forensics, psychological profiling and careful detective work made Operation Ottawa a template for subsequent murder inquiries. For the first time, the lead detective tells the store of how a vicious killer was brought to justice.

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