Woman admits killing 3 men, dumping bodies in ditches

A woman has admitted killing three men at the Old Bailey yesterday. Picture: PA
A woman has admitted killing three men at the Old Bailey yesterday. Picture: PA
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A WOMAN has admitted killing three men and dumping their bodies in ditches, in dramatic scenes at the Old Bailey yesterday.

Joanna Dennehy, 30, of Peterborough, stunned the court as she also admitted two attempted murders.

Even her own lawyer appeared unaware that she was about to plead guilty during a pre-trial hearing yesterday.

Dennehy admitted murdering Kevin Lee, 48; Lukasz Slaboszewski, 31; and John Chapman, 56, who were found with multiple stab wounds between March and April this year.

She admitted “preventing the lawful and decent burial” of all three victims.

She also confessed to the attempted murders of Robin Bereza and John Rogers.

Dennehy’s barrister, Nigel Lickley QC, said: “The course of the arraignment is not one we had anticipated.”

Dennehy, who appeared in the dock in a white shirt with a star tattooed under her right eye, told the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney: “I’ve pleaded guilty, and that’s that.”

The killer, who was flanked in the dock by security guards, appeared alongside her boyfriend Gary Richards, who denied three charges of preventing burial and the two attempted murders.

Bald-headed Richards, who is 7ft 3in tall, is also known as Gary Stretch.

Relatives of one of the victims sat next to the dock as the guilty pleas were given.

There was a short adjournment before the case was called back to court.

When they returned, Dennehy and her lawyer appeared at odds over her plea.

Mr Lickley told the court: “It is incumbent on us to inform the court whether the pleas will be maintained or changed and to that end arrangements have been made to see Miss Dennehy, hopefully on Friday this week.

“If that is possible we will inform the court on Monday.”

Interrupting, Dennehy said: “I’m not coming back down here again just to say the same stuff. It’s a long way to come to say the same thing I have just said.”

Mr Justice Sweeney told the court: “She has pleaded guilty to a large number of counts, clearly intentionally, and in the circumstances if there is to be any application for a change then I will consider it, but otherwise she has pleaded guilty.”

Dennehy and her legal team were given until Monday to make any application to change her plea.

Two other defendants appeared at the hearing, appeared before the court by videolink.

Leslie Layton, 36, of Bifield, Orton Goldhay, pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing, while Robert Moore, 55, of Peterborough, denied assisting an offender.

Police launched a nationwide appeal to find Dennehy following the murders.

A search was launched, during which police distributed her picture and described her distinctive tattoo. They urged members of the public not to approach her and described her as having “a very distinctive green tattoo on her right cheek, beneath her eye”.

Dennehy lived in the Peterborough area around the times of the killings.

Mr Lee was found in a ditch in Newborough, Cambridgeshire, on 30 March. He died from stab wounds to the chest.

Mr Slaboszewski was stabbed in the heart and Mr Chapman was stabbed in the neck and chest.

The bodies of both men were found at nearby Thorney Dyke on 3 April.