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Joanne Dennehy: Serial Killer Premieres Thurs 18 Apr on ITV

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Britain’s Most Dangerous Woman

In this new documentary in ITV’s Crime & Punishment strand, Susanna Reid gains exclusive access to police evidence from the investigation into one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers, Joanne Dennehy, who murdered three men on a killing spree.

Over two weeks in 2013, 30-year-old Dennehy murdered three men and attempted to kill two others. At trial, she showed no remorse for her victims, and became one of only three British women ever to be sentenced to spend the rest of her life behind bars.

Five years on from Dennehy’s conviction, Susanna Reid speaks to the lead detective, the father of her two children, family members of victims, a man who was present when two of the attacks took place, school friends and experts to paint a picture of how an intelligent and privileged young girl transformed into a dangerous, bloodthirsty psychopath.

The first body to be discovered was that of Kevin Lee, a local landlord, whose body was found in a Cambridgeshire ditch, naked from the waist down with a black sequin dress on his top half. Mobile phone data placed one of his tenantsnear his burning car – Joanne Dennehy. Dr Jeremy Coid, an expert on the minds of psychopaths, says: “His body was placed in that way to degrade him and get excitement and pleasure from humiliation of him even after he was dead.”

Dennehy and accomplice Gary Stretch had gone missing – getting as far as Hereford before forcing a contact of his, Mark Lloyd, into their car. Mark says:“Joanne’s gone right in front of me, pulled the knife out of her bra and said, ‘you know Gary, he’s the taxi driver, he dumps the bodies, I go around killing people.’ I was terrified. I had to convince her I was onside. I think she would have killed me without hesitation.”

Dennehy then got out and stabbed two dog walkers at random in the street. Mark says of the second attack: “This one was 20 times worse than the first and she was all over him like a blanket. Bang, bang, bang, bang. And then she grabbed the dog and the next thing she sat in the front seat saying, ‘I’ve got a new dog.’ And the bloke was trying to crawl around the corner, and it was blood everywhere. I thought gosh she’s killed two people and then she got back in the car and Gary went, ‘Let’s go to Tesco’s.’”

Police arrested Dennehy and Stretch in Hereford in the car shortly afterwards, with her new dog on her lap. With exclusive access to custody suite CCTV tapes, Susanna examines Joanne Dennehy’s behaviour in extraordinary footage recorded at Hereford police station.

The next day in Cambridgeshire, two more bodies were discovered. Lead detective Det Chf Supt Martin Brunning describes to Susanna the moment he got a call saying John Chapman and Lukasz Slaboszewski had been found dead in a drainage ditch, following the discovery of the body of Kevin Lee three days earlier. He says: “I remember looking out at the team and everybody is looking back at me, thinking ‘Crikey, where is this going? What’s happening?’”

The story that emerged after Joanne Dennehy’s guilty plea in court was that of an angelic schoolgirl who became a monster. To find out the truth about her past, Susanna tracks down an old friend who reveals that Dennehy’s dark side began to emerge in her early teens.

School friend Marika tells Susanna: “There were times when I was at school that when the bullying was really bad, that I could’ve quite easily taken my life. On more than one occasion, she’d be like, ‘You’re better off dead,’ Or, ‘I can help you if you want, and you should just go and kill yourself.’”

Barrister Michael Procter, who represented Dennehy in court, said she developed a kind of charisma which gave him an insight into how she was able to make men do what she wanted. He said: “If you met this lady in a bar, or a social situation you would think she had a personality you were quite drawn to, or that was my reaction. It was so unusual that I initially wondered whether I’d actually gone into the cell with the right client.”

Susanna also speaks to the father of Dennehy’s two children, John Treanor, who tells her that a lifetime prison is not punishment enough. He says: “She is not my children’s mother – she gave birth to them, that’s all she is. She is the donor, she gave them over, I don’t really want my kids to have anything to do with this woman.”

Airdate: Thursday 18 April 2019 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on ITV

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