South West Wales

John Cooper trial: Victim's blood found on shorts

John Cooper
Image caption John Cooper denies four counts of murder and other separate charges, including rape

A man accused of two 1980s double murders told police he could not explain how a victim's blood was found on clothing recovered from his home.

Swansea Crown Court heard how the blood of Peter Dixon was found on shorts at the home of defendant John Cooper.

The 66-year-old farm labourer denies killing Peter and Gwenda Dixon in Pembrokeshire in 1989.

He also denies killing brother and sister Richard and Helen Thomas at their home in 1985. The case continues.

The jury heard that police investigating a series of burglaries in the late 1990s recovered a pair of shorts from the bedroom of Mr Cooper's former home at Jordanston.

The blood was later identified as belonging to Peter Dixon, a holidaymaker from Oxfordshire who was found dead along with his wife Gwenda near the Pembrokeshire coastal path in the summer of 1989.

When questioned about this by detectives in June 2008, Mr Cooper could not explain why shorts stained with Mr Dixon's blood came to be found at his home, the court heard.

He said his wife used to get his clothes for him and sometimes he would wear second-hand clothes.

Mr Cooper also told police that sometimes his son would take his clothes.

During the interviews, the defendant said of Peter Dixon: "I didn't kill him - I've never killed anyone in my life."

He also told police he had never worked at Scoveston Manor, the home of Richard and Helen Thomas near Milford Haven, and had never bought anything from Richard Thomas.

Mr Thomas and his sister were found dead at their home on 22 December, 1985.

Mr Cooper denies all murder charges, and in a separate incident also denies a charge of rape, indecent assault and five attempted robberies in 1996.

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