Joanna Dennehy's escape plot (lost diary of British serial killer; 2013)

From The Lost Media Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


This article has been tagged as NSFL due to its discussion of murders.


Joanna Dennehy's mugshot.

Status: Lost

Joanna Dennehy is a British spree killer who murdered three men and attempted to murder two others during a series of attacks in Peterborough carried out in March and April 2013. Dennehy pleaded guilty to her crimes in November 2013, and became the third woman in Britain after Myra Hindley and Rosemary West to be given a whole life sentence. During her remand at HMP Bronzefield in September 2013, prison staff discovered that Dennehy had written an elaborate escape plot within her diary, resulting in her being put in solitary confinement for at least two years.


Born in August 1982, Joanna Dennehy had a ordinary upbringing in St Auburns, Herefordshire according to various accounts.[1][2][3] Her mother Kathleen even stated that she cared for life and would become upset if she killed a worm, describing her as a "loving girl" in her earlier years.[2][1][3] She had ambitions to become a lawyer, and participated in her school's hockey and netball teams.[2][1] However, her life began to decline when she was 14, having begun to drink and engage in drug-taking, while also falling for 20-year-old John Treanor.[2][1][3] A year later, she ran away from home, generally only returning to request money.[1] Her relationship with Treanor saw her give birth to two children, despite the fact she did not want to bear them.[4][1][2][3] However, their bond worsened overtime as she excessively drank, cheat, began to self-harm with knives and razors, and would also physically abuse her partner.[2][1][3][4] She also informed a friend that she was continually interested in murdering someone, becoming attached to a zombie dagger she typically placed in one of her boots.[1][2][4]

In 2009, Dennehy lost access to her children and moved to Peterborough, this occurring after Treanor left with them upon fearing that she would stab him with the aforementioned dagger during a drunken rage.[1][2][3] She had also prostituted herself for drink and drugs, while also serving time in prison for an assault and later theft.[2][1][3] In February 2012, she was temporarily sectioned at the Peterborough City Hospital and underwent psychiatric treatment.[2][1] It was there where was she diagnosed as living with both an anti-social personality and obsessive compulsive disorder, though she would ultimately continue with no counselling or treatment being provided aside from being prescribed anti-psychotic medication.[2][3][1] Following her arrest, she was also diagnosed with paraphilia sadomasochism, where she became sexually aroused by inflicting and receiving pain and humiliation.[5][1] Additionally, David Wilson, a Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University found that unlike most serial killers, she lacked any sense of disengaging from murdering, and was continually "in the moment of killing".[1] Nevertheless, what would transpire would shock even her family and closest friends.[1]

The Murders

By March 2013, Dennehy was living in a flat at Rolleston Garth, having become acquainted with property owner Kevin Lee.[2][3] Lee, who rented properties to homeless and vulnerable people as part of his company Quicklet, hired Dennehy as an "enforcer", where she would maximise her intimidating nature to convince scared tenants to pay off their debts.[2][3] Dennehy was not only paid, she also lived rent-free in one of Lee's properties, and the two even had an affair behind Lee's wife's back.[2][3] Dennehy felt satisfied with her life, and, after believing she was stable again, decided to drop her anti-psychotic medication.[3] She had also developed close friendships with Gary "Stretch" Richards, a man who was previously convicted of burglary, and Leslie Layton, a petty thief.[2][3] All three lived together at the property, Lee apparently grouping them together so that Stretch and Layton would be intimidated enough to pay outstanding debts or leave upon receiving eviction notices.[2][3] However, Dennehy's charisma caused both to fall under her seeming control, Stretch assisting her with rent enforcement.[2][3] A neighbour of theirs was John Chapman, who served in the Navy during the Falklands War but had fallen into hard times because of alcoholism.[2][3] Dennehy notably hated Chapman, in sharp contrast with many who deemed him a decent man despite his drinking problem.[2][3]

During this time period, she met Lukasz Slabozewski.[2][3][4] Slabozewski had immigrated from Poland to England in 2005, finding employment at a DHL warehouse.[2][3] While he taking illegal drugs and battled homelessness, Slabozewski's spirits rose when he met Dennehy, the pair quickly exchanging text messages and seemingly becoming a likely couple.[2][3][4] On 19th March 2013, Dennehy invited Slabozewski into her flat, promising him sex.[3][2][4] The latter texted his friends, informing them he was to meet his new girlfriend.[4][3] As the pair drank, Dennehy expressed to Slabozewski that she wanted to play a game. This "game" involved the warehouse employee becoming blindfolded.[3][2][4] After complying in the kitchen, Slabozewski was stabbed in the chest, before being further attacked in the living room.[3][2][4] Slabozewski quickly passed away from his injuries, aged 31.[2][3][4] Stretch had missed the ordeal as he was asleep upstairs.[2][3] He did however have a hand in disposing Slabozewski's body, partly out of admiration for Dennehy, but also out of fear of Dennehy and concern he would be considered the murderer if he informed police.[2][3][4] Slabozewski's corpse was dumped in a green wheelie bin.[2][4] In an act further showcasing Dennehy's depraving, she actually showed a 14-year-old girl the body in the bin.[2] She and Stretch then bought a Vauxhall Astra, where they and Layton proceeded to dispose of Slaboszewski on Thorney Dyke.[2][3]

On 28th March, Dennehy's hatred of Chapman reached an apex.[2][3][4] She invited him into her flat, and got him intoxicated to the point where he passed out.[4][2][3] Completely vulnerable, Chapman was stabbed in the chest six times, which ended his life aged 56.[2][3][4] With Chapman murdered, Dennehy, Stretch and Layton disposed of his body on Thorney Dyke, not far from Slaboszewski's.[2][3] During this time, Lee had grown concerned for his life with Dennehy being more unhinged than before.[2][3] It is believed he knew Dennehy disposed Slaboszewski's body, and even paid for the Vauxhall so that the body could be transported away from his property.[2] On 29th March, Lee was asked by Dennehy if she could meet him at his property in Rolleston Garth.[2][3][4] Lee reluctantly agreed, Dennehy having allegedly told him she wanted dress and later rape him.[2] It is known that Lee ended up in a black sequin dress, but the ordeal would go beyond rape, as Lee would be attacked by Dennehy and was fatally stabbed multiple times in the heart and lungs, aged 48.[2][3][4] Stretch and Layton again assisted in dumping a body, with Lee's ending up eight miles away from the other victims in a ditch near the motorway at Newborough.[2][3] Lee's corpse was allegedly placed in a sexually explicit position, most likely to humiliate the deceased property owner.[4]

Lee's body would be discovered a day later, with Operation Darcy promptly launched.[2] Suspicion was immediately placed on Dennehy, as Lee had confessed to his wife about the aforementioned affair.[2] Police searched Lee's tenants, eventually encountering Layton.[2] After Layton was found to have had a photo of John Chapman's corpse on his bed, Layton stated Dennehy had killed him and that he was concerned he would be next.[2][4] He also confirmed Dennehy was driving a Vauxhall Astra, the car she and Stretch retreated with, having also taken photos with Lee's dead body.[2][3] Now wanted individuals, the pair committed shoplifting in a Norfolk service station on 2nd April.[2][3] They reacquainted with petty thief and friend Mark Lloyd, who travelled with the pair thinking he was to simply help them sell their stolen goods.[2][3] However, Dennehy confessed that she was aiming to kill again, and forced Lloyd to come with them.[2][3] After she and Stretch took suggestive photos and then sold the goods in question to a shop, the trio drove to Hereford.[2][3] This was where Dennehy proceeded to randomly attack two dog walkers, Robin Bereza and John Rogers, stabbing both numerous times.[2][3][4] Neither were ultimately killed thanks to swift emergency response actions.[2][4] They were therefore able to assist in the subsequent investigation.[4]

19 minutes after Dennehy stabbed Rogers, police pulled the Astra over within Newton Close.[2][3] Dennehy acted wholly unconcerned, even joking around with police at the police station.[2][3][4] It was eventually revealed that Dennehy aimed to kill nine men in total, to replicate the murder toll killer couple Bonnie and Clyde achieved.[6][2] The bodies of her other victims were later discovered, and linked to Dennehy via forensic analysis.[7][2][3] She was tried and eventually pleaded guilty to three murders and two attempted murders.[2][3][4] On 28th February 2014, she was sentenced to life imprisonment with the recommendation that she never be released.[8][9][3][4] Thus, she became the third woman after Moors murderer Myra Hindley and Rosemary West to receive a whole life sentence.[9][8][3][4] Stretch was found guilty of preventing lawful burials and of attempted murder, and was sentenced to a minimum of 19 years imprisonment.[10][8][9][3][4] Layton received 14 years after being convicted for perverting the course of justice and preventing lawful burials.[10][8][9][3][4] Finally, a man named Robert Moore, who temporarily gave shelter for Dennehy and Stretch while they were on the run, pleaded guilty to assisting an offender and was sentenced to three years behind bars.[10][8][9][3] Lloyd was not charged with any crime and became key witness during the trial.[11] Considered a spree killer rather than a serial murderer due to the killings being done in quick succession, Dennehy is regarded by some sources as the most dangerous woman within Britain's prison system.[1][7]

The Escape Plot

Before and after her sentence, Dennehy resided at HMP Bronzefield until 2021.[12][3] Dennehy was involved in a few incidents during her time there: she threatened to kill fellow inmate West, causing the latter to be transferred to another maximum security prison.[13][4] The source behind Dennehy's hatred of West likely stemmed from her being against killing women and children as she was a mother.[4][13] Thus, considering that West alongside with her husband Fred did murder women and children, this may have intensified Dennehy's motivation towards killing West.[13][4] Additionally, she also started a relationship with fellow inmate Hayley Palmer, who served 16 years for street robberies, with plans set for them to marry.[14] In 2018, they attempted a failed suicide pact.[4] In 2021, it was reported that Dennehy was transferred to HMP Low Newton after a series of graphic love letters between her and a prison officer were uncovered.[12]

In March 2016, it was reported Dennehy sued British government over her being segregated at HMP Bronzefield since September 2013.[15][16][3] In the lawsuit, she claimed that her human rights were being violated, and that being placed in solitary confinement had severely damaged her mental wellbeing and even caused her to inflict self-harm.[17][16] The lawsuit revealed the reasoning behind her segregation; during her remand at HMP Bronzefield in September 2013, prison officers were tipped off by two Bronzefield inmates that there was a conspiracy that the spree killer was involved in.[18][17][16][3] After examining her diary, they were horrified to discover within a detailed escape plot conjured up between herself and two other inmates, one of whom was also serving life.[17][16][18][3] In the escape plans, Dennehy and the other inmates planned to kill a female guard.[17][16][18][3] After doing so, they would no only steal her prison keys, but also sever her fingers so that they could use them to fool the biometric system and thus achieve a jailbreak.[17][16][18][3] Another older report indicates that one other officer was to be killed and another mutilated for their fingers, though newer reports suggest it was most likely that only one officer would be victimised.[18][17][16] It is believed Dennehy was to attempt the escape in early-September.[18] Once the conspiracy was uncovered, police imposed a lockdown, and Dennehy was sent to solitary confinement for at least two years.[18][17][16]

Lawyers representing the government cited this as justification for her segregation, believing she posed a serious danger and an escape risk.[17][16][3] In contrast, Dennehy's defence argued that there was unfairness as the allegations were not fully elaborated to her, and that the "plot" was merely a doodle within her diary.[17][16] In the ruling made on 26th May 2016, it was accepted that Dennehy's solitary confinement from 21st September 2013 to 4th September 2015 was in fact unlawful, as it was not authorised correctly by then-Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.[15][17][16] However, it concluded that her further time being segregated was lawful, and that their had been no other violations as alleged by the claimant, including regarding equal treatment.[15][17][16][3] The lawsuit was subsequently dismissed.[15][17][16][3]


As the diary contained alleged escape plans, it was confiscated from Dennehy's possession once the plot was uncovered by prison officers.[17][16][18] It is unclear whether the plot notes still exist or were ultimately destroyed following the end of the lawsuit.[15][17][16][18] Regardless, it is extremely unlikely that this media will ever leak to the public, due to the clear security risks it may present at HMP Bronzefield and other British prisons.[17][16][18] It is unclear regarding the status of Dennehy's other diary entries, though presumably they share the same fate as the escape plot entry.



Real Crime documentary on Joanna Dennehy.

That Chapter documentary on Joanna Dennehy.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 The Guardian detailing Dennehy's upbringing and her troubled later years. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.39 2.40 2.41 2.42 2.43 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51 2.52 2.53 2.54 2.55 2.56 Evidence Locker Podcast providing a detailed account of the murders and biographies of the murderers and victims. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 3.33 3.34 3.35 3.36 3.37 3.38 3.39 3.40 3.41 3.42 3.43 3.44 3.45 3.46 3.47 3.48 3.49 3.50 3.51 3.52 3.53 3.54 3.55 3.56 3.57 3.58 3.59 Crime and Investigation summarising the murders, Dennehy's arrest, and subsequent trial Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 4.26 4.27 4.28 4.29 4.30 4.31 All That's Interesting summarising Dennehy's upbringing and murders. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  5. The Guardian reporting on Dennehy being diagnosed with paraphilia sadomasochism. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  6. FBI providing a biography of Bonnie and Clyde, who Dennehy was inspired by. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  7. 7.0 7.1 Medium summarising Dennehy's crimes and noting she is considered the most dangerous woman in the British prison system. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Document detailing the sentences against the four defendants. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 The Guardian reporting on Dennehy being given a whole life sentence, and the sentences of her accomplices. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 BBC News reporting on Stretch and Layton being found guilty. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  11. The Daily Mirror reporting on Lloyd's account of Dennehy's final attacks. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  12. 12.0 12.1 Daily Star reporting on Dennehy being transferred to HMP Low Newton after graphic letters between her and a prison officer were uncovered. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Crime and Investigation detailing Dennehy's threats to kill Rosemary West, causing the latter to be transferred to a different prison. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  14. Cambridgeshire Live reporting on Dennehy's relationship with Hayley Palmer and her plans to marry her. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Document summarising the decision made to reject Dennehy's lawsuit. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  16. 16.00 16.01 16.02 16.03 16.04 16.05 16.06 16.07 16.08 16.09 16.10 16.11 16.12 16.13 16.14 16.15 Independent reporting on Dennehy's lawsuit being declined, and how the escape plot led to her segregation. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  17. 17.00 17.01 17.02 17.03 17.04 17.05 17.06 17.07 17.08 17.09 17.10 17.11 17.12 17.13 17.14 Archived The Telegraph detailing Dennehy's escape plot found in her diary, and her lawsuit being dismissed. Retrieved 21st Jan '23
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 18.7 18.8 18.9 The Daily Mirror reporting on Dennehy's escape plot being uncovered, featuring the murder of one officer and the mutilation of another. Retrieved 21st Jan '23