“Ooops, I Did It Again…”
Joanna Dennehy had what some may call a perfect childhood. She had a close relationship with her parents and got on extremely well with her younger sister, so well in fact that they shared a room and made up their own language in which to communicate.
She did well at school and often had positive reports and always got involved with the sports teams. She had such a promising future in fact that her parents paid to get Joanna extra tuition in order to gain a place in university. They had high hopes for their bright and academic oldest daughter who hoped to one day become a lawyer.
Joanna continued to do well at school until she reached her teens, where things started to slip and she found herself forming friendships with people who weren’t looked upon kindly by her parents and teachers. She became argumentative and short tempered and her grades started to slip. She would often skip lessons or not show up to school all together and when she did, she’d get in trouble and make little effort with her work.
It was during this time that Joanna also started to experiment with drugs and alcohol. She would often show up to school drunk or high. Also during this time, she met John Treanor, a man five years her senior. Her parents disapproved of her relationship with the older man which caused further strain on their relationship with their daughter. After being with John for some time, the pair went on the run together leaving her family frantic with worry. She was eventually tracked down and she agreed to return home and attempt to make amends with her parents.
Her relationship with Treanor continued but was extremely volatile. Joanna would often fly off the handle and there were rumours of mutual affairs between the pair. Joanna had a violent temper and would regularly lose it with John, often causing physical injuries. She also began self harming and drinking even more. During this time, the couple had two children who would witness their parents in these altercations. Joanna would often disappear for days on end without making contact with her partner or children before turning back up again asking for another chance with him. Eventually in 2009, John Treanor had enough of living in such a violent and volatile relationship, he left Joanna and took their children with him.
In the years that followed, Joanna found herself moving around various areas of East Anglia. She lived in shared houses and bedsits or flats during this time. Her drug and alcohol use increased and without stable work, Joanna turned to prostitution in order to fund her habit.
In 2012, one year before her murderous spree, Joanna spent some time in a mental health facility where she was diagnosed with anti social behaviour issues and OCD. She received treatment for her issues but didn’t continue with the support once she left hospital and returned to her old way of life.
March 2013 - The murders.
At this time Joanna, now 30, was living in a shared house with several others. She still lived in East Anglia and had recently befriended a 31 year Polish gentleman named Lukasz Slaboszeski. He was fairly new to the area and had moved from his native Poland in order to make a better life for himself. His sister also lived in the UK, and worked in London. It is thought that she is the reason behind Lukasz wanting to move and work in the UK too. He became quite taken with Joanna and enjoyed having flirty exchanges with her. She to him, seemed interested in getting to know him and spend time with him.
This brings us to the 19th of March. Dennehy and Lukasz were exchanging flirtatious texts which resulted in Joanna propositioning him. She gave him an address in which to meet her where she promised him sex. He was over the moon with this and felt that he was finally getting somewhere in his new life in the UK. On his way to meet Joanna he texted a friend simply saying “life is beautiful”.
Joanna had lured Lukasz to an empty house that was being rented on behalf of a company run by a gentleman called Kevin Lee. (more on him later…) As Lukasz arrived at the home, Joanna was waiting on the other side of the front door to greet him. He barely had chance to get his foot through the door before Joanna Dennehy launched a frenzied attack on him, stabbing him once in the chest as a result. He died instantly, becoming her first victim.
Joanna now faced the task of disposing of her victim. She knew she wouldn’t be able to do this alone so she called upon the help of one of the many men who she knew would bow down to her orders. Gary Stretch was just the man. He had always been besotted with Joanna so she knew he’d be more than willing to help her out. Stretch was a giant of a man, standing at over 7ft tall. This caused him to be insecure about his appearance and so getting attention from Joanna was a huge ego boost for him.
With the help of Gary, Joanna managed to move the body of her victim into a large wheelie bin near the home where the attack took place. She was so proud of this kill, that she even showed a young acquaintance the body, boasting that she was the one who had committed the murder. The body was later moved to a remote ditch in the countryside. Joanna’s crime had excited her immensely, she got a huge rush from her actions and had developed a thirst for violence. This was only the beginning for her.
As I mentioned above, Joanna was now working for a man named Kevin Lee. Kevin owned a housing rental company who specialised in helping people who wouldn’t usually be approved to rent a home. Due to the clientele that the business attracted, Kevin needed help in chasing late or none payers. Joanna was perfect for this role as she had previously worked for bailiffs chasing people who had failed to pay their dues. Kevin paid her in the form of free accommodation in various homes and flats, which is why she had access to the home in which she killed her first victim. Despite being married, Kevin Lee embarked on a sexual affair with Joanna and would regularly meet up with her in one of the properties he owned. He too, became smitten with her.
During this time, Joanna was again living in a shared accommodation. In the home she shared also lived John Chapman. John was an ex serviceman and alcoholic. He was quiet and well liked by his friends and looked upon fondly by his family. Despite his problems he was unassuming and kept himself to himself .
It is thought that Joanna first developed a problem with John one evening when she was at the shared home taking a bath. The door had been partly open and Joanna had accused John of looking at her while she bathed. This was enough to push her into deciding exactly who her next victim needed to be.
March 29th 2013.
Ten days after claiming her first victim Joanna was today, ready for her next. She returned home to find John Chapman sleeping on the sofa, more than likely passed out from a day of drinking. Joanna drew her knife and attacked John as he slept. This attack was more frenzied than her first and her confidence was growing. After stabbing him several times John succumbed to his injuries. Victim number 2 had now been claimed.
The rush that Joanna was experiencing was one she didn’t want to lose. She wanted another victim, and fast.
Kevin Lee was still smitten and blissfully unaware that the woman who he had started a heated affair with was now a double murderer. He was however aware of Joanna’s lust for violence and intimidation which is why, on the same day as John Chapman died he thought nothing of the text he received from Joanna claiming that she wanted to meet up with him and engage in role play which would involved her humiliating him and dressing him up in women’s clothes. He made his way to the address of the empty house where Joanna was waiting for him. True to form, when Kevin arrived at the property Joanna was waiting for him and ready to seal his fate. She stabbed him in the neck and the chest multiple times, enjoying the rush it gave her as she did it. In one final act of depravity and humiliation Joanna dressed Kevin in a black sequinned dress.
After the second and third murders Joanna again called upon Gary Stretch and another gentleman friend called Leslie Layton to help to dispose of the bodies. Layton claimed he went along with her wishes because he was scared of her and knew what she was capable of if she didn’t get what she wanted. Stretch told police later that when she called him she exclaimed jovially; “oops, I’ve done it again!”.
With the help of Gary Stretch and Leslie Layton, Joanna disposed of the men’s bodies again, in remote ditches just out of the perimeters of the town. Once they had dumped the bodies, Joanna and Gary bundled into a car and with another acquaintance Mark Lloyd, who was a petty thief and criminal. They then set off towards Hereford. It was here that the group met with other criminals in order to exchange stolen goods for money.
Despite now being on the run and a triple murderer, the lust for blood was still overwhelming for Joanna, who dictated to her loyal henchmen that she now wanted to find and kill a man walking a dog.
Now on the run for two days, the group continued to drive around the area until they came across 64 year old Robin Bereza walking his dog alone. He was exactly what Joanna was looking for and she instructed for the car to be stopped. She jumped out of the car and began attacking Robin with the same knife she had used in her previous murders. She then left him for dead. Thankfully, Robin survived the brutal attack. The trio continued driving until they came across a second dog walker, John Rogers. Joanna again, jumped from the car and without warning or hesitation, began attacking John until he lost consciousness. She then took his dog and returned to the car, jovially laughing about what she had done. Like Robin Bereza, John Rogers survived the attack.
The following day, Joanna’s three victims bodies were discovered where they had been dumped in the days prior to her going on the run. Kevin Lee was still dressed in the sequins and had been left in a degrading pose.
Using leads and evidence gathered from the scene, police tracked Dennehy and Stretch down in Hereford and arrested them both on suspicion of murder and attempted murder where Mr Bereza and Mr Rogers were concerned.
When she arrived for booking in at the police station, Joanna was in good spirits and even began to flirt with the desk sergeant who read her charges. Upon hearing said charges Joanna exclaimed; “Oh well, at least I’m not big fat and ugly.”
During her interviews she made no comments and was uncooperative with officers despite evidence mounting up against her.
In November 2013, Joanna’s trial was to begin. However, upon taking her stand in the dock, she shocked the members of the jury and legal teams by pleading guilty to all charges. She had even managed to control what happened during her trial by waiting until the last minute before making a plea.
When sentenced, Joanna Dennehy was given a whole life tariff. This means that she became only the third woman in the UK to receive this sentence alongside the late and infamous Moors murderer Myra Hindley and the equally hated Rosemary West who is still serving her time. These women will never see freedom again.
Serial killer or not?
Whilst Joanna Dennehy is commonly classed as a serial killer, due to the fact she has killed more than two people, she is theoretically what is known as a spree killer. This is due to the fact that her murders occurred within a few weeks of each other rather than during an elongated period of time. Serial killers tend to span their murders over an elongated period of time, known as a cooling off period. This often results in there being a larger number of victims over a longer period of time. (Eg Dennis Rader, also known as BTK)
Regardless of titles, it cant be argued that Joanna Dennehy is a deprived and extremely dangerous woman who is now, thanks to the British justice system, locked away for the rest of her life.