Man branded ‘great danger to women’ jailed for life for murder of two partners

A man who murdered two of his former partners who had both complained to police about his violence has been jailed for at least 35 years.

Carl Cooper, 66, was in a relationship with Naomi Hunte, 41, who was stabbed in the chest, and Fiona Holm, 48, whose body has never been found, around a year apart.

Jailing Cooper (pictured) for life with a 35-year minimum term at Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday, Mr Justice Johnson said: “I am sure that you, over many years, have been a great danger to women.”

Ms Hunte, of Woolwich, south-east London, was found dead on her blood-soaked sofa on Valentine’s Day in 2022 while Ms Holm is believed to have died on June 20 2023.

The judge added: “You have a history of acting in a controlling and coercive manner to your female partners.

“Ms Hunte had made previous complaints to police about your controlling coercive behaviour.

“Ms Holm had also made a previous complaint to police about your behaviour, she had also complained to friends that you had stabbed her with a screwdriver.”

Ms Hunte made a number of domestic call-outs to police to her home in 2020 and 2021 and told them that handyman Cooper was “obsessed” with her, the court previously heard.

In a police call-out to her home on June 29 2021, she told officers that Cooper “stalks me and I’m really scared now”.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death to be a stab wound to the chest.

Her blood was later found on three different areas of Cooper’s jacket, and on a knife with a serrated blade which resembled a steak knife.

Ms Holm, of Catford, south-east London, had also made complaints about Cooper to the police.

Cooper, of Hither Green, south-east London, lit fires in the immediate days after Ms Holm went missing and also carried out a “wholesale redecoration” of his living room, which included stripping off wallpaper, cutting out net curtains and removing a rug, prosecutor Joel Smith KC previously told the jury.

Among the victim impact statements read by and on behalf of the women’s families on Tuesday, Savannah Holm, Ms Holm’s daughter, said her mother was “the light of the party” and that her “love was contagious”.

Addressing Cooper, she said: “If he has any type of decency, he would tell us where our mother is so we can grieve properly and have a proper funeral for her.”

She continued: “I feel like the system has failed to support our mother, she was very vulnerable and didn’t get the help she needed from social services.”

In a statement read out on his behalf, Ms Hunte’s father said: “I have been robbed of my future with my daughter, my only child, and that leaves me with a sadness that will remain forever.”

During mitigation, Narita Bahra KC, defending, told the court: “There was no evidence that either murder was committed with an intention to kill.”

She also asked the judge to take Cooper’s age into consideration, adding that “it is highly likely he will meet his natural death while incarcerated”.

Speaking outside the court after the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn, the senior investigating officer in both cases, said: “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.”

She added that there is a £20,000 police reward for information which leads to Ms Holm’s remains being found and appealed to anyone with information to come forward.

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