British serial killer Joanna Dennehy loses human rights court battle

A written escape plan was located in her cell

Joanna Dennehy, serial killer, UK, human rights, High Court,

An artist's impression of Joanna Dennehy in the dock at the Old Bailey, London | Image: Elizabeth Cook / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Serial killer Joanna Dennehy has lost her bid for damages for human rights violations after being put in solitary confinement in a British prison.

The UK High Court rejected her claim, which was brought after she was placed in isolation at Bronzefield Prison near Ashford in Surrey, after prison guards apparently found a plot to escape in her diary.

The 33-year-old said she had been left "tearful and upset" by the experience and hoped she would get compensation.

Her barrister, Hugh Southey QC, argued at a hearing in March that her incarceration had taken a heavy toll.

He described Dennehy as "vulnerable" due to her history of severe personality disorders, and episodes of self-harming.

Mr Justice Singh said even someone "who has committed the most serious crimes" was entitled to have their human rights protected.

But he ruled Dennehy was not entitled to any payout.

The judge said although there had been a period when her segregation was unlawful because it had not been properly authorised under the prison rules, it had at all times been "reasonable, necessary and proportionate".

"Arguably the most dangerous female prisoner"

UK government lawyers insisted her isolation was justified because of the risk she posed after the discovery of a "credible plan" to get her and two others out of prison.

Barrister Tom Weisselberg QC told the High Court: "A written plan was located in her cell with detailed plans involving killing a female officer to obtain her keys and to utilise her finger prints".

"She was placed on the escape list, which involved the wearing of an escape suit".

Jenni Richards QC, appearing for HMP Bronzefield, described Dennehy as "arguably the most dangerous female prisoner in custody".

Mr Southey said there was unfairness because the escape allegations were never properly put to Dennehy at the time.

He also added that she insists the entry in her diary was nothing more than a "doodle".

Dennehy was refused permission to appeal, but her legal team have been given 35 days to ask the UK Court of Appeal to hear her case.

Dennehy was given a life sentence at the Old Bailey last February for murdering three men and stabbing two more.

She admitted killing Lukasz Slaboszewski (31) Kevin Lee (48) and 56-year-old John Chapman, whose bodies were found in ditches in and around Peterborough in 2013.

She also pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder in Hereford, and preventing the lawful and decent burial of her murder victims.

Dennehy is only the third woman to be given a whole-life prison term. Moors murderer Myra Hindley and serial killer Rose West are the other two.