A HOLLYWOOD film star will play the key role in a TV drama of a former Winsford detective who solved a complex double murder.

Luke Evans highlights the dogged determination of Det Supt Steve Wilkins who brought the elusive perpetrator to justice.

The Pembrokeshire Murders depicts his pursuit of cold blooded serial killer John Cooper.

The murders in Wales were left unsolved for around 20 years until Det Supt Wilkins reopened the case in 2005.

The ITV mini series will be broadcast on Monday, January 11 and runs over three nights.

The mystery was finally cracked by advances in forensics and a vital clue in murderer John Cooper’s appearance on a TV game show.

An artist impression of the suspect led to the recognition of the killer when examined alongside footage from an old 1989 episode of Bullseye – a darts/quiz gameshow which was popular in the 80s and 90s.

READ > Hairdresser inspires Winsford businesses to support each other through lockdown

Steve joined Cheshire Constabulary in 1980 as a PC and worked in uniform and CID at Winsford, before a spell on the Serious Crime Squad as a Detective Constable.

Winsford Guardian: Steve Wilkins, centre, around 1989-90 with colleagues Neil Booth, Ged Layfield and partner Brian WardleySteve Wilkins, centre, around 1989-90 with colleagues Neil Booth, Ged Layfield and partner Brian Wardley

Steve Wilkins, centre, around 1989-90 with colleagues Neil Booth, Ged Layfield and partner Brian Wardley

The detective transferred to Dyfed Powys Police on promotion to Sergeant in 1992, retiring as Det Chief Superintendent in 2012.

The TV drama is based on his book - The Pembrokeshire Murders: Catching The Bullseye Killer.

Steve said: “This case went on for six years. It had never been my intention to write a book, but I was contacted by many writers from Wales who said they were keen to do it.

“I spoke to the families of the victims and they said to me ‘if there’s going to be a book, we’d rather you write it’.

“That way I was able to stick to what happened in the investigation and keep it factual. Thankfully that has been the same with the TV drama – we’ve had a good input with the script writers and always kept the families of the victims in mind.”

On being played by Luke Evans, Steve joked:"I thought it would be Johnny Vegas to be honest so I was a bit surprised.

“I met Luke and we went for a couple of beers and went through the investigation and everythng that happened. He’s a lovely guy and enjoyed doing the show in Wales.

“It is a surreal experience watching someone say the exact words that you said, but he’s done a great job, as have all the actors and the rest of the team on the show.

“I have really fond memories of my time in Cheshire, I worked with some great people and had some great times.

“I always regard Cheshire as the place where I got a great grounding for being a detective.”

The Pembrokeshire Murders (The Bullseye Killer) will be aired on ITV1 on Monday  January 11 over three nights.