Man Sentenced To 35 Years For Murdering Two Partners While On Bail

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Man Sentenced To 35 Years For Murdering Two Partners While On Bail

A man who killed his girlfriend while out on bail for murdering another partner just 16 months earlier has been sentenced to at least 35 years in prison.

One of the victims, 41-year-old Naomi Hunte, had repeatedly reported to the police that she was terrified of Carl Cooper, 66, before he fatally stabbed her at her southeast London home on Valentine’s Day in 2022.

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

In June of the following year, 48-year-old Fiona Holm, another of Cooper’s partners, went missing and has not been seen since, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

Cooper denied both murders but was convicted by a jury.

Mr. Justice Johnson handed Cooper two life sentences and ordered him to serve a minimum of 35 years before being eligible for parole.

The judge stated, “You have a history of acting in a controlling and coercive manner towards your female partners. Ms. Hunte had previously complained to police and friends about your behavior, including an incident where you stabbed her with a screwdriver. Other women have also made similar complaints. Over many years, you have been a great danger to women.”

Describing the attack on Ms. Hunte, the judge noted that the fatal wound to her chest was 12.5cm deep, puncturing her right lung. “She would have died within an hour. Either you waited while she died, or you left her for dead. The number and depth of the wounds indicate you intended to kill her.”

On June 20, 2023, Fiona Holm was last seen going to Cooper’s flat. She was never seen again. The judge said, “You murdered her and made extensive efforts to cover up what you had done, disposing of her body and causing her family unimaginable distress. Her blood was found in multiple locations in your living room. All the evidence suggests you become violent when women refuse to have sex with you.”

Ms. Hunte had repeatedly called the police, describing Cooper as ‘some sort of psychopath.’ Cooper denied murdering her when first arrested on February 18.

Prosecutor Joel Smith KC told the court that police were called by neighbors to Ms. Hunte’s flat in Congleton Grove, Plumstead, on February 14, 2022. They found her lying dead on a blood-soaked sofa with multiple stab wounds. The investigation later revealed Ms. Hunte’s blood on Cooper’s coat.

After his release, Cooper struck again. In June 2023, Fiona Holm went missing. Bloodstains found in Cooper’s flat linked him to her disappearance, despite his efforts to clean and refurbish the flat. He had also burned her bloodstained clothes in his garden.

Mr. Smith described Cooper as “a man with a predilection to control 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.

Outside the court, Fiona Holm’s sister, Helena Davies, said, “Her mother, siblings, children, and grandchildren are left without a beautiful person who meant so much to us all. 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 vulnerable women. He took the lives of two vibrant, sociable women who were very loved by their families and friends. Naomi and Fiona are in my thoughts today.”

The police are offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of Ms. Holm’s body. DCI Blackburn added, “While I am relieved that Cooper will be incarcerated where he poses no threat to women, my greatest regret will always be that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to charge him earlier. We continue to search for Fiona’s body, and our efforts will not stop until we find her and return her to her family. We will also investigate the possibility that Cooper had help in disposing of Fiona’s body and will arrest and charge those involved.”

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