Cambridgeshire

Joanne Dennehy: Triple killer sues for prison trauma

Joanne Dennehy Image copyright Cambs Police
Image caption Joanne Dennehy stabbed her victims through the heart and dumped their bodies before going on the run and stabbing two dog walkers

Triple killer Joanne Dennehy is seeking compensation for her solitary confinement in jail claiming it is a violation of her human rights.

Dennehy, 33, from Peterborough, is serving life for murdering three men whose bodies were found in ditches in Cambridgeshire in 2013.

She also attempted to murder two men in Hereford.

In a High Court challenge, barrister Hugh Southey QC said continued isolation left her "tearful and upset".

Dennehy is challenging justice secretary Michael Gove over HMP Bronzefield's decision to continue to keep her separated from other prisoners, which entails long periods of isolation.

She is "arguably the most dangerous female prisoner in custody", Jenni Richards QC, for the prison, said.

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Dennehy murdered Lukasz Slaboszewski, 31, Kevin Lee, 48, and John Chapman, 56, in March 2013 before dumping their bodies.

Image copyright Cambs Police
Image caption Dennehy was helped by Gary Stretch, who last year lost a second appeal against his minimum term of 19 years

She went on the run and subsequently stabbed dog walkers Robin Bereza, 64, and 56-year-old John Rogers.

On Monday, the High Court heard Dennehy was initially segregated while on remand over fears of a prison break by her and other inmates.

One aspect of the alleged plan was that "the finger of an officer would be cut off in an attempt to deceive the biometric security system at the prison".

Hugh Southey QC, for Dennehy, said the escape allegations were never properly put to her and no further action was taken.

Image copyright Cambs police
Image caption The bodies of (l to r) Lukasz Slaboszewski, Kevin Lee and John Chapman were found in Cambridgeshire

He told Mr Justice Singh that Dennehy's continued segregation was unnecessary and she was a victim of disability discrimination due to her mental illness.

She was a vulnerable inmate and she had, at times, resumed self-harming, he added.

Mr Southey said her legal team was seeking a court ruling that her segregation amounted to "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" which is banned by the Human Rights Convention.

Dennehy, it is argued, should be compensated "to afford just satisfaction" for the breaches of her rights.

Tom Weisselberg QC, for the Ministry of Justice, said segregation was a long way from "solitary confinement", and Dennehy had a radio, CD player, television and books, and access to the exercise yard, gym and shower.

They are also seeking to justify her segregation on the basis of the risks posed by the nature of her offending.

Mr Justice Singh is expected to reserve his decision until a later date.

Speaking after the hearing, Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said the case was an outrageous misuse of the Human Rights Act and and an offence to the victims' families.

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