Man 66, who murdered his girlfriend while he was on bail for killing another partner just 16 months earlier is jailed for 35 years

Wednesday, July 03, 2024 - A man who murdered his girlfriend while he was on bail for killing another partner just 16 months earlier has been jailed for at least 35 years.

One of his victims, Naomi Hunte, 41, had repeatedly reported to police that she was terrified of Carl Cooper, 66, before he stabbed her to death at her home in southeast London on Valentine's Day in 2022.

Cooper was arrested as an 'obvious suspect' but denied killing Ms Hunte and was released on bail.

In June last year, 16 months later, a second partner, Fiona Holm, 48, went missing and has never been seen again, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

Cooper had denied but was convicted by a jury of murdering both women.

Mr. Justice Johnson handed Cooper two life sentences and ordered that he serve a minimum of 35 years before he can be released on parole.

The judge told him: 'You have a history of acting in a controlling and coercive manner to your female partners.

'Ms Hunte had also made a previous complaints to police about your behaviour, she had also complained to friends that you had stabbed her with a screwdriver.

'Other women have also made similar complaints about your conduct in the past, I am sure that you over many years have been a great danger to women.'

Describing the attack on Ms Hunte, the judge said the wound to the upper half of her chest, was 12.5cm deep and punctured her right lung.

'That injury was fatal she would've died within an hour, either you waited whilst she died, or you left her for dead.

'Because of the number of wounds, because of the use of a knife to stab her, because of the depth of the wounds I am sure you intended to kill her.

'On 20 June 2023 Fiona went to your flat, you went to an off licence together and returned to your flat, she was never seen again.

'You had murdered her, you made extensive efforts to cover up what you had done, you disposed of her body causing her family the unimaginable distress of not knowing what happened to her.

'I am satisfied so that I am sure that each of those steps were taken to conceal what you had done, but they were insufficient, her blood was found in many different locations of your living room.

'All the evidence suggests you become violent when women are unwilling to have sex with you.'

Ms. Hunte had repeatedly called police claiming Cooper was stalking her and described him as 'some sort of psychopath'.

Cooper had denied murdering Ms Hunte when he was first arrested on 18 February.

Police body-worn footage showed a handcuffed Cooper, who can neither read nor write English - speaking in Jamaican accent.

He says: 'Me can't run, where run I go? Me never run. You can't run in England. Nothing you can do in England and get away with - you can't.'

Prosecutor Joel Smith KC said police were called by neighbours to Ms. Hunte's flat in Congleton Grove, Plumstead, on 14 February 2022.

'When police went into the flat, they saw Ms Hunte lying across a sofa in the lounge,' said Mr Smith.

'Her head was on the sofa and her legs dangled off the side.

'The sofa was saturated in blood and there was blood all around the room. Ms Hunte had been stabbed. She was dead.

'Her arms were by her chest facing upwards. The button and zip to her trousers had been undone.

'Ms Hunte had told police on a number of occasions and that she was scared of him.

'Later police investigations would reveal the presence of Ms Hunte's blood on three different areas of the defendant's coat,' said Mr Smith.

'In the meantime, Mr Cooper had been released.

'And then, lightning struck for a second time. In June 2023 a woman named Fiona Holm went missing.

'She too had been in a sexual relationship with Carl Cooper. She too had complained to the police about his violence.'

Mr. Smith told jurors they would 'no doubt see a pattern emerging because Carl Cooper killed Fiona Holm too'.

'And he hid her body - hid it so well, in fact, that it has never been found.

'Nonetheless, the police investigation exposed the defendant's involvement in this killing too.'

Ms Holm's blood was found on clothing at Cooper's address even though he had refurbished the flat and thrown furniture away.

Her bloodstains were detected on the walls, door, and wi-fi router in his living room.

Cooper had gotten rid of a television but police recovered it and traced his blood on the set too.

He also lit a series of fires in his garden in the days to burn her bloodstained clothes.

Mr Smith added: 'He is a man with a predilection to control women - particularly the two deceased women - and prone to violence when challenged. He is, in short, a callous bully and a killer.'

Cooper, of Wilmount Street, Woolwich, denied two charges of murder.

Fiona Holm's sister, Helena Davies said outside court: 'Her mother, siblings, children and grandchildren are left without a beautiful person who meant so much to us all.

'She was vivacious, loved people and life, was kind to all those who knew her, she was funny and came out with the most outrageous lines which would have everyone laughing.

'This vile, evil, man took her life, and we want to know why. We want to know where he put Fiona so we can bury her and lay her to rest.'

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn, of the Met's Specialist Crime Command, said: 'Carl Cooper is a dangerous, violent domestic abuser who preys on women with vulnerabilities.

'He took the lives of two vibrant, sociable women who were so very loved by their families and friends. Naomi and Fiona are in my thoughts today.'

A £20,000 reward is being offered by police for information which leads to the discovery of Ms Holm's body.

DCI Blackburn added: 'Whilst I am relieved that Cooper will be incarcerated in a place where he poses no threats to women, my greatest regret will always be there wasn't sufficient evidence to charge him earlier.

'Naomi was found stabbed to death in her home, but we continue the search for Fiona's body as Cooper has refused to tell us and the court where her remains are, this is devastating for her family.

'The court proceedings being over does not mean our efforts to find Fiona will stop, despite Cooper cruelly denying Fiona's family the opportunity to bury her we will remain committed to finding Fiona and returning her to her family.

'We will also continue to investigate the possibility that Cooper had help in removing Fiona's body and I will arrest and charge those I have evidence to do so.'

Post a Comment