One of the cruellest criminals in the UK, a woman who in cold blood murdered a Polish man and others, will not let herself be forgotten. This time, she is going to spend a year in solitary confinement for a murderous plan she devised in the strict-regime prison. As it turns out, Joanna Dennehy, pretending to be a tough woman, complained after her arrest that imprisonment did not do good to her and she planned a daring escape. The plan was to be perfect, and there was going to be a victim: Dennehy was to murder a prison guard, and then use the guard’s fingerprints to outwit the biometric security system and break out.
Fortunately, prison keepers managed to detect the plot, which involved two other woman-prisoners. Joanna was going to kill a female guard to get hold of her cell keys, and take her victim’s fingerprints to cheat the prison’s biometric security system. Tom Weisselberg of the UK Department of Justice states that she might have succeeded. The plan was, however, found in the murderer’s diary. As a result, 34-year old Dennehy will spend a year in a solitary confinement. You might think that there’s no way such a convict could escape.
The guards in the prison where Dennehy was detained knew perfectly well who she was, as she had been sentenced to life for having murdered three men and hurting two others. She has no chance of early release. Dennehy is serving her sentence in Bronzefield prison, near Ashford, Surrey. Weisselberg says that they are sure not to let her make another attempt at escape. The particulars of the two other prisoners involved in the murderous plan have not been disclosed. And the plan was thoroughly thought-out, including cutting off the hand of the guard in order to get her fingerprints.
A devil woman
Everyone has long known that Dennehy could not be rehabilitated. When her life sentence was being pronounced, she only smiled! Specialists who observed Joanna Dennehy in prison were in agreement that she “had an appetite for killing”, and psychiatrists added that she was “a natural born sadist.” And there was one more thing that the investigating officers could not fathom: Why would such an experienced murderer develop her escape scenario in the pages of her diary?
Four years ago, Dennehy committed a cruel crime which is still echoing, not only in the UK: She killed three men in cold blood. 31-year-old Łukasz Słaboszewski, a Pole, was her first victim. Dennehy stabbed him to death and dropped his body in a ditch. The circumstances of his death will probably never be explained, as the murderer herself has not been willing to provide any details. Słaboszewski, ill-fated to come across this cruel British woman, had gone to the UK from Nowa Sól. He had been caught stealing in Poland, so he had to leave the country quickly. He worked as a warehouse operative in Peterborough. In the UK, he did not violate the law, and still the local police – within its routine action – found and arrested him on the grounds of concealing his transgressions in Poland.
A nice but deadly English woman
Słaboszewski might have been deported to Poland. However, on a more thorough investigation, he was found to be guilty of only a minor offence, and therefore he was permitted to stay in Peterborough. So, he turned back to his warehousing duties and living in a rented room. It was in that house that he got to know Joanna Dennehy. He even boasted to his peers that he had met a nice English woman. Neither he or the other men who were unfortunate enough to meet Joanna realized what a freak she was. She slept around with random men, took drugs, drank alcohol, and finally committed crimes. This was probably the case with our countryman, whose body was found on a March day in 2013 in a ditch.
Two more murders were later committed in a house at Rolleston Garth in Welland. Kevin Lee and John Chapman were Dennehy’s two other victims. The motive for the crimes has not been revealed, and the police only stated that they had been stabbed. It is not known how the crime originated or what were its circumstances. The murderer dropped her victims’ bodies in the backwoods.
Słaboszewski, the first to be murdered, was killed on 19 March 2013. He was stabbed in the heart, then the woman took his body out of the house and put it on a heap of garbage. She must have found the sight very funny, as she was smiled and showed the dead body to a teenager passing by. The day after, she murdered 56-year-old Chapman. She stabbed him 30 times. Afterwards, she called her lover, Gary Stretch, and told him that “she had done that.”
Only two hours later she killed another man, the 48-year-old father of her children, Kevin Lee. He was stabbed as well. On finding the three bodies, the police knew that this was the job of a homicidal maniac. While they looked for the killer all over the neighbourhood, Joanna had already gone to Hereford. There, she met another man who was to be her next victim. “Let’s play”, she encouraged the newly-met Stretch, who miraculously survived his short acquaintance with Joanna.
Like Bonnie and Clyde
Joanna got it into her head that she and Stretch were a couple like Bonnie and Clyde – two cruel gangsters who travelled across America in the 1930s killing policemen. “Bloody Joanna” wanted her head-count to reach nine, just like the American duo. She was unpredictable and secretive. The families of her British victims stated that she had virtually brainwashed the men. They might have been spellbound by her charms. They might have felt comfortable in the company of an easy-going woman who liked alcohol and drugs. We will never know the answers to those questions, however. We do know that they must have trusted her completely, never suspecting they could suffer at her hands.
Neither could Joanna’s acquaintances believe she would follow such a nightmarish path. And Joanna was determined to continue to kill. Fortunately, there were no more victims as she did not manage to stab John Rogers and Robin Bereza to death. They were both attacked while walking their dogs. Dennehy attacked Bereza and Rogers on 2 April 2013 within just 20 minutes. On that afternoon, Bereza, a retired fireman, was stabbed with a knife. On the preceding night, he had celebrated his 36th wedding anniversary with his wife Pam.
That day, he was walking his Labrador, when all of a sudden he felt a blow in the neck. He thought he had been hit by a stone. He turned around and saw a woman with a knife in her hand, getting ready to stab again. With his last ounce of strength, the fireman hit the attacker, and she fled. He was immediately taken to hospital by helicopter, where he spent five days in an intensive care ward. “Ever since, I have been strangely afraid - I keep turning around,” says Bereza. A dozen or so minutes later, Joanna Dennehy attacked Rogers, who was walking his dog Archie. Rogers recalls his nightmare: “When I saw her, I begged for mercy, but she kept stabbing me”.
Caught due to a tattoo
Joanna was caught thanks to an arrest warrant and a distinguishing feature – a green star tattooed under her right eye. Before her appeal hearing, she wrote a letter to the judge, stating that she was not sorry for what she had done. She was punished, as were her accomplices: Gary Stretch got a life sentence, with a minimum of at least 19 years. Leslie Layton was sentenced to 14 years, and Robert Moore got three years for granting her shelter. When 47-year-old Stretch heard at court that he would have to serve 19 years in prison and then he could have a chance to return to normal life, he was mad with happiness and shouted: “Thank you very much! Thank you very much!”
Interestingly, Dennehy was raised in a decent home, and was considered a nice girl. Her problems started when she turned 14 and started playing truant, and drugs appeared in her life as well. Then a series of random affairs, and two children. As a sixteen-year-old she left her parents, never to come back.
Psychiatrists dealing with the case are not able to determine at which point the deadly demon was born within her. She herself explained to experts that she had always been curious to know what it was like to murder a man. Her motives haven’t been explained. Neither has it been found where her hatred towards men, three of whom she murdered in cold blood, originated from.