Jury hears of brutal knife killer able to enchant the men around her

Left to right, Kevin Lee, John Chapman and Lucasz Slaboszewski. Photos supplied
Left to right, Kevin Lee, John Chapman and Lucasz Slaboszewski. Photos supplied
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Peterborough triple murder trial, day 2 report: Female serial killer Joanne Dennehy “cast a spell” over her victims before embarking on a 10-day spree of violence, a court heard today (15 January).

Dennehy, who has admitted three murders, stabbed Lukasz Slaboszewski, landlord Kevin Lee and former navy man John Chapman to death in Peterborough, and left two other men fighting for their lives in Hereford in a 10 day crime spree.

The spot where the body of Kevin Lee was discovered by a dog walker. Photo: Rowland Hobson

The spot where the body of Kevin Lee was discovered by a dog walker. Photo: Rowland Hobson

Gary Stretch and Leslie Layton, who are accused of helping Dennehy dispose of the bodies, appeared yesterday at Cambridge Crown Court for the start of their trial.

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, told the court Stretch and Layton - as well as Slaboszewski and Lee - ‘fell under the spell’ of Dennehy.

He said Dennehy met Mr Slaboszewski, a heroin addict, shortly before his death.

She lured him to a house in Rolleston Garth, Peterborough, with a series of text messages on March 19 and he was never seen alive again.

His body was kept in a wheelie bin before being transported to the isolated Thorney Dyke. The Polish national had been stabbed once through the heart.

Mr Wright told the court: “She even showed the body to a teenage girl quite casually as it lay in the wheelie bin.”

Two days after Mr Slaboszewski’s death, Dennehy bought a green Vauxhall Astra in Eye. Mr Wright said the car was used to transport the bodies and was also used during her later stabbing frenzy in Hereford.

Dennehy, who lived in the same house as Mr Chapman and Layton, continued her deadly killing spree on March 29 - Good Friday - when she stabbed Mr Chapman a number of times, piercing the heart twice.

Mr Wright said: “Dennehy was not well disposed to Mr Chapman. He described her as the ‘mad woman,’ and said he was having problems with her.

He told a witness Dennehy had said she would get him out of the house ‘by any means.’”

Mr Wright said Layton was enthralled by Dennehy, and even took a picture of Mr Chapman’s body on his mobile phone.

Later that night Dennehy took Mr Chapman’s body to Thorney Dyke, where it was put alongside Mr Slaboszewski’s. It is alleged Stretch and Layton helped dispose the body.

A few hours after she killed Dennehy, she agreed to meet Mr Lee, a married father, in the house in Rolleston Garth.

Mr Lee, who had told his wife he was having an affair a few days before, spoke to a friend before meeting Dennehy, saying she had told him she wanted to dress him up and rape him.

When he arrived at the house she stabbed him five times, puncturing his lungs and heart.

When his body was found in Middle Lane, Newborough, he was dressed in a black dress.

After disposing of the bodies, Dennehy and Stretch went under cover, hiding at Robert Moore’s house in Belvoir Way, Welland.

Dennehy and Stretch then drove across the country seeking out further victims on April 2.

Mr Wright said: “Not satisfied with murdering three men in the east of the country, Dennehy and Stretch set off by vehicle and made their way to Hereford.

“There they committed further acts of serious violence against two entire strangers who just happened to come across their path.”

He said by the time the pair reached Hereford they were ‘out of control’.

After driving around Hereford searching for victims, Dennehy selected Robin Bereza and John Rogers.

Mr Wright added: “They were people they had never met who just happened to be on the street at the time. Both men were left for dead.”

Following the last attack, Dennehy even took Mr Rogers’ pet dog, which he was walking at the time as a ‘trophy’.

However, the pair were arrested shortly afterwards, with Stretch - who stands 7ft 3ins tall - asking police ‘I suppose I am Britain’s most wanted?’

Describing the involvement of the two defendants, Mr Wright said: “Joanne Dennehy may have been the killer but Gary Stretch was able to act as her willing accomplice in disposing of their bodies and was comfortable in her company.”

He added that Layton had also been a willing participant who took steps to distance Dennehy from responsibility for the murders.

Stretch (47) of Riseholme, Orton Goldhay, denies three counts of preventing the lawful and decent burial of a body, and two counts of attempted murder.

Layton (37) of Bifield, Orton Goldhay, denies two counts of preventing the lawful and decent burial of a body and one count of perverting the course of justice.

Joanne Dennehy (31) of Bifield pleaded guilty to three counts of murder, three counts of preventing the lawful and decent burial of a body and two counts of attempted murder at a previous hearing.

Robert Moore (56) of Belvoir Way, Welland, Peterborough, has admitted harboring Dennehu and Stretch,

The trial continues.

More from first 2 days in court: Crucial forensic clues at murder scenes linked deaths of three men to Joanne Dennehy

Follow the latest on our live news blog and @ptstephenb’s updates from court on Twitter using #ptopdarcy

More on the triple murder case:

Timeline of events - Peterborough triple murder investigation