Hereford & Worcester

Joanne Dennehy survivors: 'Ordeal changed us forever'

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Media captionJohn Rogers was stabbed more than 30 times by Joanne Dennehy

Two men who survived attacks by Joanne Dennehy have told of the moment they came face to face with the triple killer.

John Rogers, 64, and Robin Bereza, 57, were stabbed multiple times in random attacks as they walked their dogs in Hereford on 3 April last year.

They were targeted within 20 minutes of each other and were airlifted to hospital where they spent several days in intensive care.

Both men said they had been "changed forever" by their ordeal.

'No emotion'

John Rogers - stabbed about 40 times by Dennehy - was walking his dog along an uphill cycle path in the Golden Post area.

"I felt what I thought was a really heavy punch in the small of my back," he said.

"I thought it was probably one of my mates or neighbours messing about but when I turned round I saw this woman and she just kept stabbing me in the chest."

He said Dennehy forced him back down the slope until he fell backwards on to the ground, where she continued to stab him.

"I think I said 'just leave me alone please' but she didn't, she just carried on.

Image caption Robin Bereza was attacked in the Hunderton area of Hereford

"She was very matter-of-fact about it all; she didn't appear to be showing any emotion whatsoever, really."

When Dennehy's attack finished, she left Mr Rogers lying on the ground until a passing woman found him and called for help.

He spent 10 days in hospital and underwent surgery to both of his lungs which were punctured in the attack.

Retired fireman Mr Bereza, who was walking his Labrador, Samson, had celebrated his 36th wedding anniversary the day before he was stabbed.

He too was approached from behind and thought he had been punched.

Mr Bereza said he turned around to see Dennehy, who stabbed him in his right arm and said she wanted to kill him. He fought back and she fled the scene.

The father of two said he had no mobile phone and so decided to walk half a mile back to his home.

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Media captionEd Thomas meets those involved in the case

"I just wanted to get home to Pam; that was all I could think about. My house was uphill and I passed a doctor's surgery on the way but I was determined to see my wife," he said.

Mr Bereza was also eventually flown to hospital, where he spent five days before being discharged.

Despite both men expressing relief at Dennehy's whole-life tariff, they said their encounters with her would continue to affect them.

Mr Bereza, a keen runner, said his family had supported him but he felt he was a different person.

"I'm not as confident as I used to be - I'm quieter and not my normal self. I used to run for miles in all weathers but now I'm not so keen."

'Lost feeling'

Mr Rogers said he still needed regular physiotherapy to treat injuries to his hand.

"I have enjoyed playing the guitar as a hobby since the age of 16 but I'm not the same standard any more. I have lost the feeling in some of the fingers on my left hand due to the stab wounds," he said.

"But it's changed my outlook: I try to make the best of every day.

"I made the decision I was not going to let this woman ruin my life."

But he said there was one question that Dennehy had yet to answer.

"Please tell me why, why did you do it? That's all I want to know, really."

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