Joanna Dennehy surprised the court and even her lawyers when she pleaded guilty to three counts of murders and a further two attempted murders. All three victims were stabbed repeatedly and dumped in ditches.
The 30-year-old defendant appeared at the Old Bailey alongside her current partner, 7ft 3in tall Gary Richards, also known as Gary Stretch. Her sudden confession prompted her legal defense to apply for time to discuss the plea with their client.
But Dennehy told the judge, Justice Sweeney: “I’ve pleaded guilty, and that’s that.”
Her lawyer, Nigel Lickley, told the court that he would have to make sure his client wanted to plead guilty, saying: “It is incumbent on us to inform the court whether the pleas will be maintained or changed. If that is possible we will inform the court on Monday (November 25).”
Dennehy, from Peterborough, interrupted her lawyer and said: “I’m not coming down here again just to say the same stuff. It’s a long way to come and say the same thing I have just said.”
Her victims, property developer Kevin Lee, 48, builder Lukasz Slaboszewski, 31, and former navy officer John Chapman, 56, were found with multiple stab wounds over the course of four days in March and April 2013.
Meanwhile, Richards denied the two attempted murders and helping her dump the bodies.
The body of Lee was discovered by a dog-walker in a ditch near the A16 in Newborough, Cambridgeshire, on March 30, 2013, with stab wounds to his chest. Police unleashed a nationwide hunt to find Dennehy and Richards, described as a “striking-looking pair” because of the height difference and the tattoo of a star on Dennehy’s right cheek.
Within a week Dennehy was picked up by police officers on April 5. The following day a farmer called the police to say he had found two more bodies on private land in Thorney Dyke, some 10 miles from Newborough.
Slaboszewski had been stabbed in the heart while Chapman’s fatal wounds were concentrated to his neck and chest.
During the investigation it was discovered that up until his arrest, Richards had been sharing a four-bedroom house that belonged to Lee with some strangers. After his death, Lee’s family released a statement: “We are devastated by Kevin’s death. He was a wonderful husband, father, loving brother and son.”
It is not known as of yet when Dennehy and Richards will appear in court next time or what sort of sentences can be expected if convicted.