Joanna Dennehy documentary – Susanna Reid lifts lid on brutal Peterborough ditch murders

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In a new ITV documentary Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid is set to delve into the crimes of a murderer described as ‘Britain’s most dangerous woman’, and she’s from Cambridgeshire.

Over a course of 10 days in 2013, 30-year-old Joanna Dennehy, from Peterborough, murdered three men and attempted to kill two others, in what came to be known as the Peterborough ditch murders.

About Joanna
Joanna is a feminine given name deriving from Koine Greek Ἰωάννα Iōanna from Hebrew יוֹחָנָה Yôḥānnāh meaning ‘God is gracious’. Variants in English include Joan, Joann, Joanne, and Johanna. Other forms of the name in English are Jan, Jane, Janet, Janice, Jean, and Jeanne.
The earliest recorded occurrence of the name Joanna, in Luke 8:3, refers to the disciple “Joanna the wife of Chuza,” who was an associate of Mary Magdalene. Her name as given is Greek in form, although it ultimately originated from the Hebrew masculine name יְהוֹחָנָן Yehôḥānān or יוֹחָנָן Yôḥānān meaning ‘God is gracious’. In Greek this name became Ιωαννης Iōannēs, from which Iōanna was derived by giving it a feminine ending. The name Joanna, like Yehohanan, was associated with Hasmonean families. Saint Joanna would have been culturally Hellenized, thus bearing the Grecian adaptation of a Jewish name, as was commonly done in her milieu.At the beginning of the Christian era, the names Iōanna and Iōannēs were already common in Judea. The name Joanna and its equivalents became popular for women “all at once” beginning in the 12th century in Navarre and the south of France. In England, the name did not become current until the 19th century.The original Latin form Joanna was used in English to translate the equivalents in other languages; for example, Juana la Loca is known in English as Joanna the Mad. The variant form Johanna originated in Latin in the Middle Ages, by analogy with the Latin masculine name Johannes. The Greek form lacks a medial -h- because in Greek /h/ could only occur initially.
The Hebrew name יוֹחָנָה Yôḥānnāh forms a feminine equivalent in Hebrew for the name Joanna and its variants. The Christian Arabic form of John is يوحنّا Yūḥannā, based on the Judeo-Aramaic form of the name. For Joanna, Arabic translations of the Bible use يونّا Yuwannā based on Syriac ܝܘܚܢ Yoanna, which in turn is based on the Greek form Iōanna.
Sometimes in modern English Joanna is reinterpreted as a compound of the two names Jo and Anna, and therefore given a spelling like JoAnna, Jo-Anna, or Jo Anna. However, the original name Joanna is a single unit, not a compound. The names Hannah, Anna, Anne, Ann are etymologically related to Joanna just the same: they are derived from Hebrew חַנָּה Ḥannāh ‘grace’ from the same verbal root meaning ‘to be gracious’.

Joanna Dennehy documentary: Susanna Reid lifts lid on brutal Peterborough ditch murders

About Dennehy
Dennehy is a surname of Irish origin. The original form in Irish is Ó Duineachdha, meaning descendant of Duineachaidh, who was a chieftain who fought the Danes in Limerick in 934. The name may mean “humane”, or may mean “man from the fairy hills”. Spelling variations include Denehy, Dennehey, Danahy, Deniehy, and Denahy. The name may refer to:

Billy Dennehy (born 1987), Irish football player
Brian Dennehy (born 1938), American actor
Daniel Deniehy (1828–1865), Australian writer and politician
Darren Dennehy (born 1988), Irish football player
Donnacha Dennehy (born 1970), Irish composer
Elizabeth Dennehy (born 1960), American actress
Joanna Dennehy, serial killer; see Peterborough ditch murders
John Dennehy (born 1940), Irish politician
Miah Dennehy (born 1950), Irish football player
Mick Dennehy (born 1950), American football player and coach
Ned Dennehy (born 1965), Irish actor
Peter Denahy (born 1972), Australian musician
Thomas Dennehy (1829–1915), British general
William Francis Dennehy (1853–1918), Irish writer

She was sentenced to life in prison without parole, one of just three women handed such a sentence in the UK – along with Myra Hindley, who carried out the infamous Moors murders with Ian Brady, and Rosemary West, who tortured and murdered young women and children along with her husband, Fred.

In the programme, which is set to air tonight (April 18) at 9 pm on ITV, Susanna Reid will talk to the Cambridgeshire officers who were in charge of the investigation, as well as people who knew Dennehy to find out more about this woman who killed for kicks.

Joanna Dennehy documentary: Susanna Reid lifts lid on brutal Peterborough ditch murders

Who is Joanna Dennehy?

Mr Justice Spencer told Dennehy she was “a cruel, calculating, selfish and manipulative serial killer” as he sentenced the 31-year-old

 

Dennehy was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire and raised in Harpenden by her parents, Kevin, a security guard, and Kathleen, a grocery worker, who had hoped their daughter would become a lawyer.

But Dennehy began running away from home at age 15 and did so around eight times before she finally turned 16 and had the legal right to decide where to live.

Her sister, Maria, 29, told The Mirror: “It was like she woke up one day and said ‘no’ about her planned career.

“There was cannabis and drugs involved. She became a bit of a rebel. The first time she ran away from home my parents called the police.”

Dennehy was diagnosed with psychopathic and anti-social disorders as well as borderline personality disorders. Following her arrest, she was also diagnosed with paraphilia sadomasochism, where a person gains sexual excitement from pain and humiliation.

The court heard that during the journey to Hereford, Joanna told her accomplice “I want to have my fun”. She also apparently bragged that she and her accomplice were like Bonnie and Clyde and that she wanted nine victims.

The victims

Joanna Dennehy’s victims: Lukasz Slaboszewski (left), John Chapman (upper right), and Kevin Lee (bottom right)
(Image: ITV)

 

The serial killer stabbed three men over a 10-day period in March 2013, Lukasz Slaboszewski, Kevin Lee and John Chapman.

Lukasz, 31, was Dennehy’s first victim. A Polish national who she’d met mere days before killing him, at a property in Orton Goldhay, Peterborough, around March 19 2013.

He had told his friends that he had met an “English girlfriend”, and after being coaxed by text messages from Joanna, he went to meet his killer, it is thought to be that he was expecting a sexual encounter.

Dennehy stabbed Lukasz in the heart before storing his body in a wheelie bin, where it would remain until she had taken the life of her second victim.

John Chapman was Dennehy’s second victim, who was killed on March 29.

John, 56, was a Falklands veteran who lived at a bedsit in the same property as Dennehy and was high on drink and drugs as she stabbed him in the neck and chest.

After taking the life of her second victim, Dennehy contacted her accomplice, Gary Richards, also known as Stretch, and told him: “Oops, I’ve done it again.”

Dennehy then transported the bodies in a car along with the help of Richards and another friend Leslie Layton, before attempting to bury the bodies in ditches around Peterborough.

Kevin Lee was Dennehy’s third victim, her 48-year-old landlord and lover, was stabbed in the chest later on March 29.

When Dennehy dumped his body she dressed him in a black sequin dress and left him in a roadside ditch new Newborough, where he was discovered on March 30.

Dr Jeremy Coid, an expert on the minds of psychopaths, said: “His body was placed in that way to degrade him and get excitement and pleasure from the humiliation of him even after he was dead.”

Dennehy fled, getting as far as Hereford where she stabbed two dog walkers at random in the street, Robin Bereza and John Rogers, who both survived the attack.

Dennehy’s sentence

 

Joanna Dennehy admitted murdering three men whose bodies were found in remote ditches in Cambridgeshire with stab wounds

 

After two days on the run, Dennehy was caught after attacking the two dog walkers, Robin and John.

Police had launched a nationwide manhunt and used CCTV footage of her to track her down.

On the day she was sentenced Judge Mr Justice Spencer told the Old Baily: “Within the space of ten days you murdered three men in cold blood. Although you pleaded guilty, you’ve made it quite clear you have no remorse.”

He went on to add: “You are a cruel, calculating, selfish and manipulative serial killer.”

Joanna was ordered to spend the rest of her life in prison, but during her sentencing, she laughed and smirked.

During her time in prison, Dennehy plotted her escape by planning to murder a prison guard and use the severed finger of another to get past biometric security.

She also fell in love with Hayley Palmer, another inmate who was serving time at HMP Bronzefield, and the two had a suicide pact, which was not successful.

Where can I watch it?

Susanna Reid (right) with Detective Martin Brunning of Cambridgeshire Police
(Image: Shared Content Unit)

 

In the documentary Joanna Dennehy: Serial Killer, Susanna Reid will gain exclusive access to police evidence, as well as interviewing the lead detective, the father of her two children, family members and victims, among others.

Joanna Dennehy: Serial Killer, airs tonight (April 18) at 9pm on ITV.

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