Peterborough ditch murders
The Peterborough ditch murders were a series of three murders which took place in England in March 2013. All of the victims were male and died from stab wounds. The bodies of all three men were discovered dumped in ditches outside Peterborough. The perpetrator was Joanna Dennehy, a local woman who was later sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order.
In November 2013, Joanna Dennehy pleaded guilty to all three murders and two further attempted murders. Dennehy's sister Maria was unsurprised by the guilty plea and said, "I think she did that to control the situation. She likes people to know she's the boss." Dennehy has been held at HM Prison Bronzefield where Rosemary West was also held in recent years. Assessing psychiatrists later diagnosed Dennehy with "psychopathic, anti-social and emotional instability disorders" (the latter is also known as borderline personality disorder).
Two men, Gary Richards (known as Gary Stretch), then 47, and Leslie Layton, then 36, stood trial charged with a range of crimes assisting Dennehy, then 31. Neither agreed to enter the witness box, give sworn evidence or face cross-examination. The jury began considering their verdict on 4 February 2014. On 10 February Richards was found guilty of attempted murder. Layton was found guilty of perverting the course of justice. On 12 February Layton and Richards were convicted of all other charges.
On 28 February 2014 at the Old Bailey, Joanna Dennehy was sentenced to life imprisonment. The trial judge, Mr Justice Spencer, recommended that she should never be released. He said that this was justified due to the premeditation of each murder. Spencer said further that Dennehy was sadomasochistic, and lacked the normal range of human emotions. Dennehy is believed to be one of just three women in the United Kingdom to be told that her life sentence should mean life. The other two confirmed cases are Myra Hindley (now dead) and Rosemary West. Gary 'Stretch' Richards was also sentenced at the Old Bailey alongside Dennehy to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum term of 19 years. Leslie Layton was sentenced to a total of 14 years, and Robert Moore, then 55, who admitted to assisting an offender received a three-year prison sentence.
Kevin Lee was a property developer, landlord and lover of Joanna Dennehy. He was killed on 29 March 2013, and his body found the next day near Newborough. Dennehy dressed Lee's body in a black sequined dress before dumping his corpse.
Lukasz Slaboszewski and John Chapman were both housemates of Dennehy. Slaboszewski was killed on 19 March, and Chapman on 29 March. The bodies of Slaboszewski and Chapman were both found on 3 April near Thorney with stab wounds.
Victim selection and motives
Dennehy specifically targeted men during her killing spree, telling Lloyd that she did not wish to kill a woman and especially not a woman with children. Lloyd stated Dennehy had wanted to kill nine men in total, seeking to be like Bonnie and Clyde. Dennehy hunted and stabbed men for the purpose of entertainment, telling Stretch, "I want my fun. I need you to get my fun." She later told a psychiatrist that she had found murder to be "moreish" and that after the first killing she "got a taste for it."
After the trial
After the trial it emerged that the Probation Service was supervising Dennehy at the time of the murders as she had been convicted of assault and owning a dangerous dog. It was subsequently concluded that the staff dealing with her were insufficiently experienced. 
While Dennehy was on remand before the trial prison staff found an escape plot in her diary. This involved killing or seriously injuring a prison guard, cutting off one of the guard's fingers and using the amputated finger to fool the biometric system in the prison. Dennehy was placed in solitary confinement from September 2013 (before the court proceedings) to September 2015 (after the proceedings) because of the above plot. She claims isolation left her 'tearful and upset' and led to self harm. The High Court rejected Dennehy's claim that her human rights had been violated. Government lawyers argued isolation was necessary due to the nature of Dennehy's offences and the risk she could pose to the public if she were to escape. Mr Justice Singh found solitary confinement was "in accordance with law (...) at all material times it has been necessary and proportionate". Joanna Dennehy is currently incarcerated in Bronzefield Prison, Surrey.
- Aileen Wuornos – American serial killer who killed seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990
- Spree killer
- List of prisoners with whole-life tariffs
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- Joanna Dennehy: serial killer becomes first woman told by judge to die in jail
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- The "Timeline of police Operation Darcy into murders of three Peterborough men from 2013" from the "Peterborough Telegraph" newspaper lists a timeline of dates, locations and events between March 2013 until February 2014 tracing the murders of Kevin Lee, Lucasz Slaboszewski and John Chapman in Peterborough and the subsequent court case.
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- Joanne Dennehy: what makes a female serial killer tick | News | The Week UK
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- Joanna Dennehy stab victim dies
- BBC News – Joanne Dennehy: The woman who murdered men 'for fun'
- Joanna Dennehy: serial killer becomes first woman told by judge to die in jail | UK news | The Guardian
- Joanna Dennehy was on probation at time of murders The Guardian
- Serial killer Joanna Dennehy was being supervised by probation when she murdered three men Peterborough Telegraph
- Serial killer Joanna Dennehy's escape plot to murder guard revealed as she loses high court compensation bid
- Serial killer Joanna Dennehy loses High Court human rights damages fight
- Serial killer Joanna Dennehy loses High Court human rights fight
- Joanne Dennehy: Triple killer fails in bid for damages over prison trauma
- Joanne Dennehy: Triple killer loses bid for damages
- Serial killer Joanna Dennehy loses claim her human rights are being violated