The process had begun at Swansea crown court this afternoon of selecting a jury who will decide whether farm labourer John William Cooper shot dead four people in Pembrokeshire during the 1980s.

Cooper, aged 66, of Letterston, has denied murdering brother and sister Richard and Helen Thomas at their home in Scoveston Manor near Milford Haven in 1985.

He also denies shooting dead marketing director Peter Dixon and his wife four years later as they walked the Pembrokeshire coastal footpath near Little Haven.

Cooper also faces charges of rape and indecent assault, unrelated to the alleged murders, and to several attempted robberies, all during the 1990s.

He has denied all the charges.

The case for the prosecution will be opened by Gerard Elias QC tomorrow (Tuesday) in a trial expected to last 10 weeks.

This afternoon the original jury panel of 112 were reduced to 52, all of whom said they could serve for such a length of time.

Tomorrow morning the final 12 will be selected at random.

Cooper, who is in custody, appeared in a smart grey suit. Only two members of the public, both relatives of Cooper, attended today’s proceedings.

News from the trial will be updated regularly on the Western Telegraph website.