By Anton Rippon
A former radio sports journalist who had covered the Hillsborough disaster was beaten to death by his son in a “shocking and gruesome” attack, Winchester Crown Court was told yesterday.
Howard Winton Cooper, who was known as Winton, was battered to death at the Dorset country cottage he shared with his son, Joseph Cooper, on April 15 last year, the 22nd anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, Winchester Crown Court was told.
Joseph Cooper, 24, admitted manslaughter through diminished responsibility but denied murder. The prosecution accepted his plea after reports found him mentally ill.
Cooper, who was 64 at the time of his death, worked at the Barnsley Chronicle before moving to the Huddersfield Examiner as a news reporter and feature writer in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In the mid-1980s he worked the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle before becoming a well-known voice at BBC Radio Sheffield. It is believed that he had not worked since leaving the radio station around 16 years ago.
Cooper’s body was discovered at the cottage in the village of Marnhull, near Sturminster Newton, on April 15 last year.
The court was told that Cooper had suffered appalling injuries that had been inflicted with a hammer, three kitchen knives and a pair of secateurs.
Stewart Jones QC, prosecuting, said that Joseph Cooper had a troubled childhood. His father was violent and abusive towards him. His parents parted in the 1990s and, the middle of three brothers, Joseph spent his younger years in care and in trouble with the police. His father did not want him, and his mother could not cope with him.
After his retirement, Winton Cooper moved to Dorset to look after his elderly father. Eventually, Joseph Cooper came to stay with him.
Psychiatric reports found that Joseph Cooper suffered from such an abnormality of mind that it had impaired his responsibility for his actions.
Sentencing has been adjourned to a date still to be fixed, so that Cooper can undergo further medical assessment.
It was during his time at BBC Radio Sheffield that Winton Cooper reported on the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest that saw 96 people lose their lives.
- JOIN THE SJA and benefit from a recognised press card, priority entry to key events and significant discounts and members offers on a range of activities
UPCOMING SJA EVENTS
Mon Sep 24: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill GC. Booking details from Paul Trow at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thu Dec 6: 2012 SJA British Sports Awards. An Olympic year extravaganza. Note the date in your diary now. Details to be announced soon.