A FORMER detective has pleaded guilty today (Tuesday, June 26) to murdering his partner Heather Cooper.
The body of Mrs Cooper, a detective serving with Surrey Police, was found in woodland near Lurgashall in the early hours of Monday, October 17.
Peter Foster, 36, her partner and the father of her two children, admitted murdering the 33-year-old at the family home in West Street, Haslemere.
He was given a life sentence at the hearing in Lewes Crown Court and will serve a minimum of 17 years in jail.
A post mortem examination showed Mrs Cooper died from blunt force trauma to the head and a stab wound to her neck.
Heather had been an officer with Surrey Police since 2003 and was based at Guildford Police Station. At the time of her death she was on maternity leave having given birth to a daughter in August 2011.
The couple, who had been together since 2007, also have a three-year-old son.
Foster, a former officer with Surrey Police, resigned from the force in 2009. At the time of his resignation he was suspended from duty and facing disciplinary action for an incident which occurred whilst he was off duty in Hampshire. He went on to set up a business as a self-employed plumber.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Nick May, of Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: “Foster was a volatile man whose actions that day have destroyed this young family. On the afternoon of October 16, he viciously attacked Heather striking her repeatedly and with extreme force. His attempt to cover up his crime by hiding her body and trying to dispose of evidence shows he was thinking only of himself.
“This has been a sad and difficult time for Heather’s family. Our thoughts remain very much with them and in particular her two children.”
Surrey and Sussex Assistant Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: “Heather Cooper was an exceptional police officer but first and foremost she was a young mother and our thoughts continue to be with her family and in particular her two small children who have lost the opportunity to get to know her.
“The death of an officer in such circumstances has affected many at Surrey Police and I would like to thank the investigation team in Sussex for their hard work, sensitivity and professionalism in dealing with this case.
“Over the past few months, many of Heather’s colleagues and friends have come together to raise money to help towards her children’s future which is a fitting tribute to someone who spent their own life helping others.
“Heather’s death is a huge loss to the police service and she continues to be missed.”