Farmer who shot dead estranged wife jailed for minimum of 31 years

A “jealous and controlling” farmer who shot dead his estranged wife in a pre-planned killing has been ordered to serve at least 31 years behind bars.

Andrew Hooper blasted out the side window of Cheryl Hooper’s Range Rover to give himself a clear close-range shot at her neck, after following her to her home in Newport, Shropshire.

The 46-year-old, who lived on a 400-acre farm near Newport, used a tracking device to locate his wife’s car before opening fire, knowing her teenage daughter was nearby.

Cheryl Hooper with her daughter Georgia
Cheryl Hooper with her daughter Georgia

Jailing Hooper for life with a minimum term of 31 years minus 196 days served on remand, Judge Mark Wall QC said: “This was not a spur-of-the-moment killing, it was one that you had planned in the hours leading up to it.

“I am sure it was your intention to kill.”

Saying Hooper had not expressed any remorse or regret, the judge told him: “This was not a last-minute decision to kill arrived at outside Cheryl’s house, but rather a planned execution, as the prosecution rightly contended.

“Georgia, Cheryl’s 14-year-old daughter, had been in the car with her but had got out when you arrived and watched you murder her mother.

“She noted the look of hatred in your eyes, describing it vividly in her evidence as a look of ‘murderous intent’.

“You did not stop to help your wife, nor did you offer support or comfort to Georgia. You fled the scene, leaving others to cope with the horrific aftermath of what you had done.”

Hooper, who appeared in the dock in a wheelchair, showed no emotion as he was unanimously convicted of murder on Friday.

Cheryl Hooper
Cheryl Hooper

He suffered severe facial injuries and lost the ability to speak after turning his shotgun on himself at his farm following the murder.

The Crown said he deliberately shot his 51-year-old wife in the neck from about 1.5 metres away because he was “consumed with anger and jealousy” after she left him at the end of 2017.

Following Hooper’s conviction at Birmingham Crown Court, it emerged that he was given a suspended sentence in 2004 after breaking into his first wife’s home and threatening to kill her.

Prosecutor David Mason QC told the court: “This defendant, after they had separated, broke into her house one night armed with a knife and surgical gloves, and threatened to kill her and her new partner.

“That’s the only conviction he has. He was prosecuted for aggravated burglary but in fact pleaded guilty to an affray and received a suspended sentence.”

Georgia, who is now 15, read a victim impact statement to the court, saying of her mother: “For her to just be gone, my whole life has gone.”

She added: “On January 26 2018 my life got turned upside down. I never imagined my life without my mum. Mum and I were inseparable, we were a team and we did everything together.

“Mum was funny, beautiful and my best friend, the thought of her not being with me to share my life makes me very sad.

“I relied on her for everything – she was my world and I was hers.”

A man has been found guilty of murder after he shot a woman outside her home in a Shropshire town. Andrew Hooper was found unanimously guilty of the murder of his estranged wife Cheryl Gabriel-Hooper in Newport in January 2018:

— West Mercia Police (@WMerciaPolice) June 21, 2019

After the statement, Judge Wall told the teenager: “The way in which you have conducted yourself throughout this trial – which must have been extremely difficult for you – has been admirable and awe-inspiring.

“Your mother would, I have no doubt, have been immensely proud of the way you have dealt with a tragic and difficult process.”

Cheryl’s parents Tony and Rita said in a statement: “We cannot fully express the sorrow, sadness and pain of losing our beautiful daughter Cheryl in such dreadful circumstances.

“As her family, we shared a wonderful close bond with her, she was so special, loving and caring in every way and we miss her every single day.”