Serial killer laughs in dock during sentence hearing

Serial killer laughs in dock during sentence hearing
Joanna Dennehy.

Serial killer Joanna Dennehy laughed and smiled as she arrived in the dock to be sentenced for her crimes.

The 31-year-old, who murdered three men before randomly selecting and repeatedly stabbing two others in March and April last year, look relaxed as she was led into Court Two at London’s Old Bailey.

Flanked by prison guards and her three accomplices, she wore a pink Adidas vest top which revealed visible scarring to her upper arms.

At one point she interrupted her own mitigation to talk to one of her barristers, repeatedly shaking her head in apparent displeasure.

Nigel Lickley QC, representing Dennehy, who the court heard has the birth name Joanne, acknowledged that her crimes were “exceptionally serious”.

He added that Dennehy had not intended to “embarrass or humiliate” her victims.

“The three men who were killed were not strangers to her,” he said.

“They were killed by a limited number of stab wounds.

“In essence the crimes are aggravated by the number of offences and the attempted murders.”

Mr Lickley said the attempted murders were random attacks on strangers, indicating that they were not pre-planned.

Her appearance had been delayed pending a review of sentencing after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that whole-life terms breached human rights.

But earlier this month the Court of Appeal upheld judges’ right to imprison the most serious offenders in England and Wales for the rest of their lives.

Dennehy, of Orton Goldhay, Peterborough, previously admitted the murders of Lukasz Slaboszewski, 31, Kevin Lee, 48, and John Chapman, 56, in and around Peterborough over a 10-day period.

She also admitted the attempted murder of two dog walkers, John Rogers and Robin Bereza, in Hereford while on the run from police as well as preventing the lawful and decent burial of her murder victims.

At an earlier hearing at Cambridge Crown Court, the killer shouted from the dock that she was sorry for the two attempted murders but expressed no remorse for the killings.

Gary Stretch, 47, of Riseholme, Orton Goldhay, Peterborough, who stands at 7ft 3in, was found guilty of the attempted murder of Mr Bereza and Mr Rogers and three counts of preventing the lawful burial of a body after a trial at Cambridge.

Leslie Layton, 36, of Bifield, Orton Goldhay, was found guilty of preventing the lawful burial of two murder victims and perverting the course of justice.

A third man, Robert Moore, 55, of Belvoir Way, Peterborough, is awaiting sentence after admitting assisting an offender.

During the trial, prosecutors said Dennehy “cast a spell” over her alleged accomplices and some of her victims as she killed “for fun”.

Dennehy was likened to “Uma Thurman from Kill Bill and the woman from the Terminator” by married father-of-two Mr Lee shortly before his death.

At the height of a nationwide manhunt, she bragged to one witness that she had killed eight people – although no further murders have been detected.

All of the murder victims died from multiple stab injuries, including wounds to the heart.

After his death at a house in Rolleston Garth, Peterborough, on or around March 19, the body of Mr Slaboszewski was stored in a wheelie bin.

At one point a smirking Dennehy showed the body to a teenage girl, prosecutor Peter Wright QC told the court.

Along with Mr Chapman, who was killed in the block of bedsits he shared with Dennehy in Bifield on March 29, his body was later dumped in a ditch near the isolated Thorney Dyke.

Mr Lee was also killed on March 29 in the same house as Mr Slaboszewski.

His body was found wearing a black sequin dress and positioned in a sexual pose in a separate ditch near Newborough, in what Mr Wright described as a “final act of humiliation”.

After the Peterborough killings, Dennehy had bragged that she and Stretch were “like Bonnie and Clyde” as they drove 140 miles across the country to search out further victims.

The court heard that she drove to Hereford with Stretch in a Vauxhall Astra registered in the false company name Undertaker and Sons.

Once there the diagnosed psychopath attacked Mr Bereza and Mr Rogers in the street.

Dennehy will be sentenced later.

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