Ex-detective jailed for murdering partner Heather Cooper
A former detective has been jailed for life for murdering his police officer partner whose body was found in a shallow grave in West Sussex woodland.
Peter Foster, 36, of Haslemere, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison at Lewes Crown Court.
Heather Cooper, 33, who was on maternity leave from Surrey Police, was hit over the head and stabbed in the throat at their home in West Street.
Her body was found in Blackdown Woods, near Lurgashall, on 16 October 2011.
Foster had previously denied murdering Ms Cooper, a mother of two who grew up in York and served as a detective constable in the Public Protection Investigation Unit based at Guildford police station.'Much-loved daughter'
She was killed weeks after she gave birth to her second child.
Surrey Police believe he killed Ms Cooper a few hours after they had a row about a lost bag on Sunday 16 October.
End Quote Det Ch Insp Nick May
Foster was a volatile man whose actions that day have destroyed this young family”
The alarm was raised when Foster told a relative he had "done something stupid" and needed to dispose of bloodied sheets later that day.
The former police detective led officers to Ms Cooper's body shortly after his arrest.
Officers investigating the murder discovered a knife and baseball bat at the couple's home in Haslemere.
Surrey Police said Foster resigned from the force in 2009 while he was suspended and facing disciplinary action over an off-duty incident in Hampshire.
The force said Ms Cooper had talked about leaving Foster before her death but stayed after they discussed the possibility of him taking anger management courses.
Det Ch Insp Nick May 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."
In November, hundreds of people, including relatives and former colleagues, attended a memorial service for Ms Cooper at Guildford Cathedral.
Her family has also set up the Heather Cooper Children's Fund to raise money for her young son and daughter.
Following the sentencing they released a statement, which said: "Since Heather's tragic death, we have been humbled by all the wonderful tributes of respect and love that have been paid to her and the immense compassionate and sensitive support we have received from all quarters.
"We couldn't have asked for more.
"We would like to thank everyone, in particular the investigation team for all their professionalism and their hard work over the last eight months and all Heather's friends and colleagues for the incredible fundraising which they have undertaken in her memory.
"She would have been proud of them all."
Ms Cooper was described as highly praised in her work and completely dedicated to her two young children.
In 2009, Ms Cooper received a Surrey Police commendation for her "professionalism, dedication and commitment".
Post-mortem tests carried out at the Royal Surrey County Hospital revealed she died from blunt force trauma to the head and a stab wound to the throat.