Serial killer Joanna Dennehy’s ex-partner: ‘She’s evil – no punishment will be enough’

Joanna Dennehy

by Anna Matheson |
Updated on

As a new documentary revisits the shocking case of serial killer Joanna Dennehy, Closer speaks to her ex-partner and father of her kids, John Treanor

Twisted Joanna Dennehy made headlines in March 2013 after brutally murdering three men in cold blood. The 35-year-old stabbed her landlord Kevin Lee, 48, and housemates Lukasz Slaboszewski, 31, and John Chapman, 56, to death over a 10-day period, before dumping their bodies in ditches across Peterborough.

As a police manhunt was launched for Dennehy, she drove 140 miles to Hereford, where she stabbed two dog-walkers at random – both of whom survived against the odds. Dennehy was arrested after two days on the run and, eight months later, the mother-of-two – who has been diagnosed with a personality disorder – admitted three murders and two attempted murders in court.

She laughed while being give a whole-life sentence at her trial in February 2014. Her accomplices, Gary “Stretch” Richards, and Leslie Layton – who helped Dennehy dispose of the bodies – received a minimum of 19 years and 14 years respectively. A third man, Robert Moore, was given three years for “assisting an offender.”

Joanna Dennehy victims

Joanna Dennehy now

And killer Dennehy has continued to make headlines while in prison. Last August, it was reported she and her girlfriend – whom she met behind bars – had attempted suicide. They both survived and Dennehy reportedly attempted suicide a second time, but was treated by medics.

As a new ITV documentary explores Dennehy’s sadistic crimes, her ex-partner John Treanor, now 42, exclusively tells Closer that he and their daughters – now 19 and 13 – will “never escape” their association with the notorious killer.

John, 42, explains, “She is pure evil – there is something terrifying in her that made her do what she did. We want nothing to do with her.”

Joanna Dennehy's victims


Joanna Dennehy victims

Lukasz Slaboszewski1 of 3
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Lukasz Slaboszewski

Lukasz Slaboszewski, 31, her first victim, was killed just days after meeting Dennehy

John Chapman2 of 3
CREDIT: Shutterstock

John Chapman

John Chapman, 56, Joanna's housemate was her second victim

Kevin Lee3 of 3
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee, 48, was her landlord and lover

Joanna Dennehy childhood

John met Dennehy – who grew up in St Albans with her mother, Kathleen, a shop manager, her security guard father Kevin and younger sister – while out walking his dog in 1998.

A year later, the pair moved into a bedsit together in Milton Keynes. John says that meeting Dennehy was a turning point in his life.

He explains, “I’d been through a really tough time and Joanna was bright and confident. She charmed me, but the cracks quickly started to show. She drank heavily and smoked cannabis and we began arguing. When we went out, she was loud and flirted with other men. She was 17 when she gave birth to our first daughter. I loved being a dad, but she didn’t take to motherhood.”

John – who works in catering and now has a new partner – says that over the following years, he’d stay at home with their daughter while Dennehy went on drink and drug binges, often staying out all night with other men.

He says, “It’s hard to look back on those years and see any happiness. She was controlling and manipulative and very occasionally violent. If it wasn’t for our daughter, I’d have left.”

serial killer joanna dennehy

In 2006, the couple had a second daughter as they both wanted to be parents again, but John says that Dennehy’s behaviour became more erratic.

He adds, “On the rare occasions she did look after our oldest daughter, she’d take her to throw rocks at cars and think that was bonding. She’d turn up at the school gates drunk, or come home after a night out and tell me she’d got into fights. The police often turned up at our house because she’d been abusive in public, and she spent some time in prison for drug and theft charges.”

In 2008, Dennehy moved out of the family home to a rented flat nearby after the couple finally broke up but, a few months later, John became so tired of her disruptive behaviour that he took their daughters to Manchester to stay with his mother.

Joanna Dennehy's ex-partner
Picture posed by models ©Getty

He says, “I had to get away. It was heart-wrenching knowing I was taking my girls away from their mum – even though she’d been awful, she was still their mum. I loved her and had spent 10 years trying to look after her, but I couldn’t do it any more. The girls were obviously upset, but they soon found their new life more relaxing.”

Afterwards, John had no more contact with Dennehy. The family moved into their own home and the girls started new schools. Then, four years later, in April 2013, John received a text from Dennehy’s sister, to tell him Dennehy had been arrested for murder.

He says, “I thought I knew Jo, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d ended up in prison for theft or fighting – but I had no idea she could be capable of murder. Suddenly, her face was everywhere. My youngest daughter was too little to understand, but my eldest saw Joanna’s photo on the front of a paper in our local shop and I had to explain what had happened to her. I said, ‘Mum has done something very bad,’ and she cried. She had no words, we were in complete shock.”


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What prison is Joanna Dennehy in?

In 2014, Dennehy was given a whole-life jail term, becoming only the third woman in the UK – after Myra Hindley and Rose West – to receive the sentence. She is currently incarcerated in Bronzefield Prison, Surrey.

John says, “It’s not enough. It’s not justice. I didn’t know the victims, but their families have to go on without them while she’s living in relative comfort in prison. No punishment would ever be enough.”

Until recently, his youngest daughter, now 13, had no idea about her mother’s crimes.

John says, “I had to explain it to her last year as I wanted her to hear about it from me now that she’s old enough to understand. She said, ‘It’s fine, Dad, I’m yours. I’ve never even known my mother.’

“My eldest knows that if she has any worries, she can talk to me any time. So far she has refused counselling. She knows that she won’t end up like her mother. I’ve brought her up – she’s wholly mine. She’s at college and has a job, she’s like any other 19-year-old.”

But John says that each time Dennehy is in the papers, it brings back terrible memories.

Joanna Dennehy prison

He explains, “Just thinking about her makes me shake with fear and anger. She’s never tried to contact us since we last saw her 10 years ago and if she ever tried to, we’ve agreed to ignore her. My daughters and I will never be able to completely get away from the past, but we do our best.

“I’m glad I got my children away from her when I did, because I dread to think what could have happened had we stayed. I’ve got two wonderful girls and everything I do is to protect them.”

When is the Joanna Dennehy documentary on TV?

Joanna Dennehy: Serial Killer is at 9pm on Thursday 18 April on ITV1.

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