A ‘CALLOUS’ and ‘controlling’ farmer who allegedly shot his estranged wife dead over fears of an affair had ‘murder in his eyes’, his stepdaughter has told a court.
Andrew Hooper, known as Jack, pulled up on the driveway of Cheryl Hooper’s home, blocking in her Range Rover Evoque, on January 26 last year.
As he did so, his stepdaughter recalled her mother screaming and saying ‘Oh my god, he’s here.’
Giving evidence in a police interview the day after witnessing the killing, the teenager said: ‘Literally, he looked like a psychopath.’
Hooper is alleged to have murdered the 51-year-old with a shotgun, despite some weeks earlier having signed over all his licensed guns to a friend after three suicide attempts, Birmingham crown court heard.
The 46-year-old then left the scene before later turning the gun on himself, the jury was told.
Hooper has lost the ability to speak after suffering severe facial injuries, and sat in the dock today assisted by an intermediary.
Jurors heard that the defendant, described by the prosecution as ‘controlling’, ‘callous’ and ‘evil’, was able to follow the movements of his wife of 18 months after fitting a tracking device to her car.
Earlier that evening, he confronted Mrs Hooper in a pub, accusing her of being there to meet a man with whom she was allegedly having an affair.
Her daughter told police her mother ‘never cheated’ on Hooper, but added that the couple had a ‘strange’ relationship and ‘led separate lives’, eventually leading to Mrs Hooper and her daughter moving out.
The court heard how the couple had purchased the Evoque on finance, with Mrs Hooper paying the instalments, but the vehicle was in Hooper’s name and he managed to take the car away on at least one occasion before returning it to Mrs Hooper.
It later turned out that Hooper had been using the car to track his wife’s movements, the teenage witness said.
The victim’s daughter recalled the night of the shooting, and her mother picking her up and taking a phone call from Hooper on the way home, which she ended by telling him ‘f*** you’ and hanging up.
Mrs Hooper and her daughter arrived home, and suddenly Hooper’s silver Land Rover Defender was on the drive behind them.
‘Literally, I think he pulled up, saw us, and followed us on to the drive,’ the girl said.
She added: ‘Mum couldn’t have moved the car even if she had tried.
‘He looked like a psychopath. He had murder in his eyes. I don’t know what he had in his hands.’
She added: ‘I have never seen my mum so scared in all her life. And she said, “Oh my god, he’s here”.’
The teenager recalled seeing Hooper with something in his hands, then smashing her mother’s window, while the girl was ‘panicking’ and ‘fumbling’ with her phone to call the police.
‘I thought it was a shovel and that he was going to beat her,’ she said.
‘I was round the front of the car, and I saw him holding a gun.’
Describing how she ‘froze’ on seeing the shotgun, she said: ‘He was properly looking down it. It wasn’t like a lazy shot.
‘It was callous, I could see anger in his eyes.
‘Then he shot her. I could smell the shot.’
‘He waited a few seconds to make my mum realise “I’ve got a gun and I’m going to shoot you, I’m going to kill you”,’ she went on.
‘He waited long enough for her to think “I’m going to die”.’
Hooper, of Newport, Shropshire, denies murder. The trial continues.