Former St Albans serial killer in Human Rights compensation bid

Joanna Dennehy

Joanna Dennehy - Credit: Archant

A former St Albans woman branded in the High Court as “arguably the most dangerous female prisoner in custody” must wait to hear whether her controversial claim for compensation over the way she has been treated in prison has succeeded.

Serial killer Joanna Dennehy, 33, who murdered three men and stabbed two more, was sentenced to die in prison at London’s Old Bailey in 2014.

She was only the third woman to receive such a sentence – the other two were infamous Myra Hindley and Rose West.

Mr Justice Spencer, one of the country’s top judges who imposed a life-sentence on her ruled there should be no provision for parole and that she should never be set free.

She pleaded guilty to the brutal killing of John Chapman, 56, Lukasz Slaboszewiski, 31, and Kevin Lee, 48, and to the attempted knife murders of two other men.


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Now, though, Dennehy has sparked a furore by mounting a High Court claim that her human rights have been breached by the authorities at Bronzefield Prison and that she is entitled to compensation.

MPs and others have condemned her claim, in which she has been represented by leading human rights lawyer, Hugh Southey QC, and branded the case as a misuse of the human rights laws.

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In the claim, which is now being pondered on by Mr Justice Singh who will give a written decision later – no date has yet been fixed – Mr Southey said Dennehy was “tearful and upset” after being segregated from other prisoners at Bronzefield.

She was, he said, being treated “unlawfully and unfairly” and it was taking a toll on her.

Dennehy was segregated after the discovery in her diary by a prison guard of what appeared to be plans for a break-out plot which included the killing of a prison officer.

Mr Southey told the court that Dennehy had suffered severe personality disorders and self harming which dated back to her childhood. He described her as a “vulnerable prisoner”.

However, a different picture was painted of Dennehy by QC Jenni Richards who appeared in court for the prison.

She said that Dennehy was arguably, “the most dangerous female prisoner in custody” and added that she had “a taste for killing”.

The case is one which has attracted a tide of criticism and at the forefront of those protests has been MP Stewart Jackson. He represents Peterborough, where the three murder victims were killed.

He is on record saying that the case amounts to “an outrageous misuse of the Human Rights Act.”

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