THE families of the four people murdered by John Cooper have expressed their relief that the person who tore their lives apart has finally been brought to justice.

Outside court, Peter and Gwenda Dixon’s children Tim and Julie said: “While this cannot take away our loss and grief, and the pain of other people touched by his violence, we can have some closure now the person responsible for these terrible atrocities has been served justice.

“To many our Mum and Dad are just another two faces that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But to our family they are irreplaceable: There are no words that come near to explaining the impact this has had on us.

“An integral part of our family is missing. Mum and Dad were loving, gentle and loved people. They were also a charismatic couple that invested a lot of time and energy in their local community.

They had wisdom, humour and were compassionate.

Even after two decades their absence is immense and still painful.

“On behalf of all those affected by this man, we would like to sincerely thank DCS Steve Wilkins and his team, and all the officers over the years, and the forensic science services also.

“We the family of Peter and Gwenda, anyone else touched by John Cooper’s violence, and all the people of Pembrokeshire, owe a debt of gratitude to these officers of Dyfed-Powys police. Because of their tenacity, dedication and hard work these communities will be that much safer after today.

“We now begin the task of getting on with the rest of our lives, the verdict gives us justice, but there is no sentence the courts could impose that could ever compensate for what we have lost and the impact the loss of Mum and Dad will have on the rest of our lives.”

The family of Richard and Helen Thomas also issued a statement after Cooper was jailed for life.

“The family of Richard and Helen Thomas were devastated by the events which took place on December 22nd, 1985 and the manner of their deaths.

“We know that they would have been very interested in the progress of the various members of the extended family and they were denied this opportunity. We have also missed out on their involvement and kindness.

“Over subsequent years, the family’s loss has deepened, with the burning questions of why it happened still remaining. It has been a very difficult time, always at the back of our minds, it never leaves you. We will probably never know the truth as a family.

“As a family, we would wish that justice is done for Richard and Helen.

Memories will remain with us all forever, but we hope that we will now be able to remember the happier times more than the very sad ones.”