A misconception that many people have is that a good upbringing and keeping a child busy with activities will help prevent her from going the wrong way. However, this is not usually the case. Joanna Dennehy had a normal childhood until she decided to leave her family at the age of 16. After that, it was crime after crime until it ended in murder. 

Before Murders

Before the murders, Joanna had been born to normal, middle class parents.  Her parents were a security guard and shop manager. No one could imagine the killer she would become because she good grades and extracurricular activities. However, during her teenage years, this all changed. She started drinking, doing drugs, and dating a man five years older than her.  Eventually, Joanna Dennehy would move out of her and have two kids with that man.  In the end, she would leave her kids with their dad and never return. 

Joanna started committing crimes. She started stealing and was even charged for wielding a knife in public. This seems to be foreshadowing for her heinous crimes. 

Peterborough Ditch Murders

The murders of Joanna Dennehy were called the “Peterborough ditch murders” because that is where she dumped the bodies of her three victims. 

The first victim found was Kevin Lee.  He was seeing Dennehy and was her landlord.  On March 29, 2013, his body was discovered with multiple stab wounds.  He was also dressed in a black sequined dress.  

The second victim was Lukasz Slaboszewski and the third victim was John Chapman.  Their bodies were both found on April 3, 2013.  It would be found out that Lukasz was killed on March 19, and John was killed 10 days later on March 29th.  Both had been stabbed to death.  It was later found out that they were both Dennehy’s roommates.  

Before being caught two days later, Joanna Dennehy repeatedly stabbed two other men but they survived.  It has been said that she wanted to kill nine men to have the same kill count as Bonnie and Clyde. 


During the trial, Joanna laughed at killing the three men when the judge read the life sentence.  If you heard last week’s podcast, you know that she threatened to kill another female killer Rose West that resulted in West being moved to another prison. 

It is also said that she continues to talk to men via letters in jail. Earlier this year, she was ready to get married to robber Hayley Palmer.  His family begged the prison governor to not allow the marriage because they feared he would commit suicide based on Dennehy’s urging.

Joanna was diagnosed with paraphilia sadomasochism.  This is getting sexual excitement from pain.  This is the second female killer featured who got sexually aroused by hurting others.  The first was Jane Toppan. 

Closing Remarks

Well, what did you think? Joanna Dennehy seems to not have any care for other people.  She left her family and kids.  She would then start murdering.  Her 19-year old daughter said in an interview that her mother told a psychiatrist that she killed for fun. I just hope that she remains in jail and no one ever has the idea to let her out. I am not sure if Joanna can be reformed. 

The Peterborough Ditch Murders was what the murders of three men was called.  Joanna Dennehy is a female serial killer who was responsible for those murders, and she is the third woman in the UK to get a life sentence.