Cheryl Hooper: Murder victim had tried in vain to salvage marriage
Murder victim Cheryl Hooper gave her controlling husband chance after chance in a bid to save their strained marriage, but in the end her efforts were in vain.
Andrew Hooper, known as Jack, shot his estranged wife twice at close range in a jealous rage in Newport on January 26 last year after she dared to move out of their home in December 2017. She was struck in the upper arm and chest, but the fatal wound was to her neck.
After ambushing the mother-of-one and her daughter, Georgia, outside their new home, Hooper fled in his car to his 400-acre Guild of Monks Farm in nearby Sutton where he turned the rusting old shotgun on himself.
Georgia, now aged 15, bravely gave West Mercia Police a full account of what she witnessed on the fateful night shortly after 11pm. And it was in large part due to her recorded testimony of what happened that helped to lock up her stepfather.
Earlier in that evening Mrs Hooper had been out with friends at The Crown public house, in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, including a man called Ian Preece whom Hooper had accused her of having an affair with. Hooper arrived unexpectedly and tapped her on the shoulder and telling her, “I should have have have known you’d be with that *******”.
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It was then that Mrs Hooper realised that he had installed a tracking device on her Land Rover. He had taken it without her consent some weeks before using the spare keys.
He did eventually return the vehicle, but not before setting it up so he could track her movements.
The 51-year-old dental surgery manager had not told him or anyone else where she was going to be.
In the ensuing police murder investigation the detectives were able to check Hooper's computer and found activity proving used it to check where she was going that night.
They went outside and were captured on CCTV talking.
Text messages and phone calls from Mrs Hooper to various members of her family and to Hooper himself after he left the pub, revealed that she told him she was not having an affair. Hooper warned Cheryl that he would burn her belongings.
Among the evidence played in court to the jury was a recording of a telephone call made by Georgia, then 14, of her conversation with Hooper after the pub incident, before tragedy struck. He is heard complaining about Mrs Hooper.
Georgia says: “She’s given you chance after chance. If you hadn’t treated us badly we wouldn’t have left.”
Hooper replies: “If that is what you think, then that is what you think.” Georgia says: “That is what I know.”
Hooper replies: “You are 14. You know ****.”
Georgia says: “That’s nice.”
Hooper replies: “This has been going on for a long time.”
Georgia says: “It doesn’t mean that you have the right to track the car. It doesn’t give you the right to burn our stuff.”
Full coverage of the trial:
- I wanted to do 'honourable thing', says husband
- Shotgun went off by accident, says accused husband
- I just wanted to scare her, says accused husband
- Jury is shown old shotgun
- Husband accused of murdering Cheryl Hooper in Newport 'was in financial difficulties'
- Court hears of neighbour's terror after Newport mother was shot
- 'He had murder in his eyes': Cheryl Hooper's daughter tells court of shotgun terror
- 'Cold-blooded' farmer shot wife in front of teenage daughter, court told
After leaving the pub Hooper got into his car and headed 15 miles back along the A41 to the farm where security camera footage showed him arriving and quickly leaving with an object, believed to be the 12 bore double-barrelled side by side shotgun, hidden under some cloth.
Mrs Hooper, in the meantime, stayed at the pub before heading towards Telford to drop off her friend Caroline Tranter and then pick up her daughter.
As they pulled up outside their rented semi, in Farmers Gate, Newport, Hooper appeared and the teenager described his expression. She told the jury that “he had murder in his eyes” when he killed her mother.
Despite using the shotgun on himself, Hooper survived his self-inflicted injuries. He was left with severe facial injuries, is unable to speak and uses a wheelchair.
Earlier that month Hooper, an experienced shot, signed over his six licensed guns to a friend after three suicide bids.
The police believed that he had collected the shotgun that was in poor condition and once owned by his late father from the family’s other 350-acre Longswood Farm prior to January 26. Another member of the family recovered the gun’s missing stock from an office at the site after the murder.
The last straw for Mrs Hooper came after a difficult time when Hooper smashed up the TV, and then when she and Georgia were upstairs they heard him breaking and un-breaking a gun. His footsteps were then heard going up the stairs then down again.
Fearful for their safety and desperate to protect her daughter, she moved out.
Following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court the jury found Hooper guilty and he was sentenced to life, with a minimum of 31 years in jail.