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Domestic abuser who killed two women is sentenced to life imprisonment

Source: Metropolitan Police published on this website Friday 5 July 2024 by Jill Powell

Naomi Hunte and Fiona Holm were both loved women from south London killed by a man who took sinister measures to evade justice.

Naomi, 41, and Fiona, 48, were killed by Carl Cooper in February 2022 and June 2023, after he had used coercive and controlling methods to target and abuse them.

Naomi was found fatally stabbed in her home, but detectives continue their search for Fiona’s body as Cooper has consistently refused to tell police where she is.

The investigation into the search for Fiona is ongoing, and there is a live £20,000 police reward for information which leads to her remains being found.

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: 

“Carl Cooper is a dangerous, violent domestic abuser who preys on women with vulnerabilities. He took the lives of two vibrant, sociable women who were so very loved by their families and friends. Naomi and Fiona are in my thoughts today.”

Naomi Hunte, of Woolwich, was found with stab wounds at an address in Congleton Grove, SE18 at 20:25hrs on Monday, 14 February 2022 when a neighbour noticed her front door was open and went inside to check on her. Sadly, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem examination took place on Wednesday, 16 February at Greenwich Mortuary and gave cause of death as a stab wound After Naomi's body was found a murder investigation was launched by murder detectives.

Initial enquiries revealed that all signs of Naomi being alive stopped in the early hours of 10 February 2022. Her mobile phone and her bank account were inactive from that evening. Officers reviewed mobile phone data relating to Cooper and quickly identified that he was in the area of Naomi’s flat at the relevant times on 9 and 10 February. This was supported by CCTV evidence that showed some of his movements that night.

He was arrested on 18 February 2022 on suspicion of murder. In interview he admitted that he was with Naomi on 10 February, but claimed she had taken drugs and begun to act strangely, so he left. On the evening of 10 February, when Naomi was already dead, Cooper made a call to Naomi's mobile phone - the call was not answered and he did not leave a message.

After Cooper’s arrest for Naomi’s murder, he was released on bail as there was insufficient evidence at that time to seek a charging decision from the Crown Prosecution Service. Over the next year, police continued with their investigation.

Friends, family and associates were interviewed, items sent for forensic examination and CCTV and mobile phone evidence reviewed. The investigation continued, with Cooper on bail and then released under investigation.

In June 2023 while Cooper remained under investigation for Naomi's murder, Fiona Holm from Blackheath, who he was in a relationship with, was reported as a missing person on 29 June 2023. When no sightings or digital activity could be found, coupled with her links to Carl Cooper, the homicide team investigating Naomi’s murder, took primacy for the investigation into Fiona’s disappearance on 11 July 2023.

It was immediately classified as a murder investigation and Cooper was arrested that same day on suspicion of Fiona’s murder. On 13 July he was charged with the murders of both Naomi and Fiona.

The last sighting of Fiona was at an off license in Verdant Lane, SE6 at shortly before 23:00hrs on Tuesday, 20 June and police have never found any further footage or images of her after this timeThe evidence for both cases was entirely circumstantial and the facts surrounding the deaths of each woman, strengthened the overall case against Cooper.

DCI Blackburn added: 

“This has been a long and complex investigation and I would like to sincerely thank the families of Naomi and Fiona for their unwavering support throughout both investigations. They have sat through court and heard the most difficult of information about the deaths of women they deeply loved. I cannot begin to understand the pain they will experience forever.

“While I am relieved that he will be incarcerated in a place where he poses no threat to women, my greatest regret will always be that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to charge him earlier.

“I am pleased that the evidence presented allowed the jury to see the true nature of Carl Cooper, who had gone to great lengths to remove traces of Fiona’s blood from his flat. It was shocking for the court to discover her blood was on various items in his flat, including a wifi router, the television, living room walls, and on the curtains.

"The trial being over does not mean that our efforts to find Fiona will stop. Despite Cooper cruelly denying Fiona’s family the opportunity to bury her, my team and I are, and will remain, committed to finding Fiona and returning her to her family. We also will continue to investigate the possibility that Cooper had help to remove Fiona’s body, and will arrest and charge those I have sufficient evidence to do so.”

Carl Cooper, 66 (19.04.58) of Broadfield Road, SE6 appeared at Woolwich Crown Court accused of the murders of Naomi Hunte and Fiona Holm.

On Friday 28 June the jury found him guilty of both murders.

At the same court on Tuesday, 2 July he was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum term of 35 years.

Anyone who has information which could aid our search for Fiona, is asked to contact police or give information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The Metropolitan Police  has as part of their A New Met for London they are reprioritising how we protect the public from harm and transforming how they safeguard the vulnerable.

The reduction and prevention of violence against women and girls is a key strategic priority and they are delivering a revised VAWG action plan, committing the entire Met to tackling sexual offenders, combatting violence against women and improving women and girls’ safety and rebuilding trust.

The know the tragic deaths of Naomi Hunte and Fiona Holm have affected people in their local community and London more widely, specifically those from the Black and ethnic minority communities. As part of the mission to protect women and girls, we are taking specific action to improve engagement with Black and ethnic minority women and girls to better understand the impact of intersectionality and build trust.