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Pensioner 'executed' two couples

A pensioner "executed" two couples in two horrific double shotgun murders carried out for "pitiful financial gain", a jury has heard.

John Cooper, 66, of Letterston, near Fishguard, west Wales, is accused of carrying out the violent murders four years apart in the 1980s.

A jury at Swansea Crown Court heard graphic details of the merciless killings of both couples allegedly at his hands.

They were also told the pensioner was a prolific burglar who was jailed for 16 years in 1998, for 31 offences including a violent shotgun robbery.

Gerard Elais QC, prosecuting, opened a lengthy prosecution case against the pensioner.

He told the court of blood spatters found on a shotgun belonging to Cooper directly linking him to one of two double murders.

He went on to describe Cooper, who denies all charges, as a "cold and calculating killer".

He outlined the 11 offences with which the pensioner is charged which include rape and robbery as well as four killings.

Cooper is accused of killing millionaire farmer Richard Thomas, 58, and his sister Helen, 54, at their burnt-out Pembrokeshire mansion in December 1985.

He is also accused of murdering tourists Peter Dixon, 51, and wife Gwenda, 52, on the final day of their holiday four years later. The couple, from Oxfordshire, were attacked as they walked along a coastal path near Little Haven, Pembrokeshire, in June 1989.

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