Double murder accused was reported to police five times before attacks, court told

Carl Cooper is accused of killing Fiona Holm (left), 48, and Naomi Hunte, 41 (right)  (Metropolitan Police/Facebook)
Carl Cooper is accused of killing Fiona Holm (left), 48, and Naomi Hunte, 41 (right) (Metropolitan Police/Facebook)

A victim had reported a “controlling and jealous” boyfriend to police multiple times before he allegedly stabbed her to death with a steak knife, a court heard.

Despite Carl Cooper being an “obvious suspect” in the killing of Naomi Hunte, who was found dead on her blood-soaked sofa on Valentine’s Day in 2022, police released him after he was interviewed under caution.

The construction worker is accused of killing yet again 15 months later after his new girlfriend Fiona Holm disappeared without a trace.

Her body has never been found, but police later discovered traces of her blood on the walls, door and Wi-Fi router in Cooper’s living room.

Cooper, 66, denies murdering both women.

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Opening the prosecution’s case at Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday, Joel Smith KC told jurors: “He is a man with a predilection to control women – particularly the two deceased women – and prone to violence when challenged. He is, in short, a callous bully and a killer.”

The court heard that Ms Hunte, 41, reported Cooper to the police twice in November 2020 – on the second occasion telling them he had been harassing her, waiting outside her house, and that she was afraid of him.

No further action was taken after she told police she did not want to make a statement or attend court.

She turned to police again six months later, complaining that he was bombarding her with calls and had been to her address, kicking the front door and calling her names.

In October 2021, she told officers she was worried about what could happen if she were left alone with him, after he had lost his temper when she refused sex, the court heard.

“She said that his behaviour towards her was getting worse – he was more aggressive and more persistent. He was, she said, controlling and jealous,” Mr Smith told the court.

Carl Cooper is standing trial at Woolwich Crown Court in south London (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Archive)
Carl Cooper is standing trial at Woolwich Crown Court in south London (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Archive)

Ms Hunte’s body was discovered by a neighbour in her home in Woolwich, southeast London, on 14 February 2022.

A knife with a 2-3 inch serrated blade, resembling a steak knife, was found covered in blood on the kitchen counter.

Prosecutors believe she had been dead for several days, having been killed on 10 February, when mobile phone data shows Cooper visited her flat.

“But, tragically, this would not be the last time that Mr Cooper would kill his partner,” Mr Smith said.

“Because whilst he was still being investigated for the murder of Ms Hunte, another woman with whom he was in a physical relationship went missing.”

Once again Cooper was in a controlling and violent relationship, this time with Ms Holm, and was the last person to see her alive, the court heard.

Police were called to Cooper’s address in April 2023, where Ms Holm, 48, told them he had threatened her with a crowbar and previously stabbed her with a screwdriver. Cooper was arrested and interviewed, but released without charge.

Ms Holm was last seen on CCTV at an off licence near the defendant’s home address in Catford at 10.48pm on 20 June last year, while her bank card was used to withdraw £40 nearby at 11.11pm.

Since then there has been no trace of her. She has not been admitted to hospital, used her bank accounts or contacted friends or family.

Forensic analysis of Cooper’s flat – which he had completely redecorated to cover his tracks – identified Ms Holm’s blood in multiple locations, including the walls, door and wifi router, the court heard.

“Ms Holm was killed in the flat,” Mr Smith said. “She bled in the flat. The defendant has tried to cover it up, to deceive the police and, ultimately, you.”

Cooper denies two counts of murder. The trial, scheduled to last four weeks, continues.