FARM labourer John William Cooper yesterday denied any involvement in the murder of Witney couple Peter and Gwenda Dixon.

Giving evidence for the first time at his murder trial, Cooper said he had nothing to do with murder, rape or any of the 31 crimes he has been previously jailed for.

Cooper is accused of being the gunman who shot Mr and Mrs Dixon with a 12 bore shotgun on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path while they were on holiday in June 1989.

The 66-year-old told a jury at Swansea Crown Court of the anger he still felt about spending, but for a few weeks, the past 13 and a half years in jail.

He said: “I have an anger inside me that is hard to describe. But I don’t use the negative side of it. I use the positive side to move on.”

Cooper also said he had no involvement in the fatal shootings of brother and sister Richard and Helen Thomas, 58 and 56, who were murdered at their home in Scoveston Park, Milford Haven, in 1985.

He claimed he would have had no reason to be anywhere near a field off the Mount Estate, Milford Haven, in March, 1996, when a 16-year- girl was raped, her friend indecently assaulted and five teenagers were ordered by a hooded gunman to hand over cash.

The prosecution claim evidence linking Cooper to the crimes was found along a trail police believe was used by the man who carried out a robbery at Sardis in 1996.

Cooper, of Spring Gardens, Letterston, near Milford Haven, was later convicted of that crime and jailed.

He denied having owned a sawn-off shotgun also found on the Sardis trail, which had a speck of 51-year-old Mr Dixon’s blood on one of the barrels. The trail led towards Cooper’s then home in Jordanston.

Cooper said he also could not explain how a pair of shorts with the DNA of the Dixons’ daughter, Julie, had been found in the bedroom of his home.

The jury has heard the shorts bore a mark showing they had been on sale only in America and that the Dixons had holidayed there.

Cooper said he had worn them as pyjamas and as swimming trunks.

He assumed his wife Patricia had bought them. He said his wife had washed the shorts regularly.

The prosecution allege they were stolen from the scene of the Dixons murder in 1989, although they were not recovered by police until Cooper was arrested in 1998 for a series of burglaries and the Sardis robbery.

Material recovered in that operation was later examined using modern DNA techniques and in 2009, just three months after being released, Cooper was again arrested, this time for the murders.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.