Winton Cooper was breakfast show favourite
A FORMER Sheffield radio presenter who covered some of the city’s biggest stories including the Hillsborough disaster has been murdered.
Winton Cooper, who was in his 60s, was found dead in his flat in the village of Marnhull, Dorset, where he moved several years ago.
Winton, who started his career as a newspaper reporter, hosted Radio Sheffield’s breakfast show during the 1980s as well as covering news and sport for the station.
Shocked locals in Dorset said his house in a cul-de-sac had been cordoned off, and that armed police raced to the scene of the killing in the sleepy village of Marnhull immortalised as Marlot in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
Former colleague Dinah Maden, who worked with Winton in Sheffield as a presenter on the breakfast show for around 15 years, told The Star the dad-of-three’s death was “extremely sad”. She said he had “disappeared from the local scene” since his radio career ended.
Yesterday detectives were awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination to find out the cause of Winton’s death. Although the body was yet to be formally identified, his family has been informed.
Armed officers, police dogs and a police helicopter swarmed over the village after the discovery was made on Friday.
One local, Gino Gibbs, said armed police locked down houses before storming into a village pub.
“Officers with guns ran into the pub and locked the doors and told everyone they couldn’t leave,” he said. “On the streets, police were screaming at people to get back into their homes. It was terrifying.”
A former South Yorkshire journalist who worked with Winton on the Barnsley Chronicle, but didn’t want to be named, said he last spoke to his friend around 10 days ago.
“He told me he had ‘a lot of issues going on at the moment’,” he said. “He said he couldn’t speak more on the phone but would write to me. He never did.
“He liked to be incognito, that’s why he went to Dorset. I think he went to Dorset to hide his identity.”
After leaving the Barnsley Chronicle, Winton moved to the Huddersfield Examiner newspaper before switching to radio.
Dinah said Winton joined Radio Sheffield as a news reporter in the mid-1970s.
“We worked together quite a lot in the 1970s and ’80s, most closely when we were doing the breakfast show. We always got on very well. He was great fun. It was a nice happy family then, there was a very nice atmosphere. I don’t know what he’s been doing these last few years, he sort of disappeared from the local scene.”
She described Winton as a “laddish, outgoing type”, adding: “He had what you need to be a reporter - a lot of nerve and a hard face. He was very good at digging.I didn’t know that much about his private life. It’s always sad to hear of people you’ve worked with dying, but especially in these circumstances. The news came out of the blue.”
Winton watched the horrors of the Hillsborough disaster unfold in April 1989 from the commentary box while covering the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final tie. One of the most popular presenters at Radio Sheffield, he worked alongside former footballer Emlyn Hughes in the commentary box and hosted a weekly show.
During his days at the Barnsley Chronicle Winton was known for driving round town in a yellow convertible Morris Minor 1000.
Joseph Cooper, 23, of Marnhull, has been charged with murder and is due before magistrates today.