News & views
Serial killer’s plain language shocks courtroom
[16 Dec 2013] It must have been like a Bateman cartoon at the Old Bailey on 18 November when 30-year-old Joanna Dennehy shocked her barrister by pleading guilty to three murders, having been expected to do the opposite. Instead of a lengthy and lucrative trial, Nigel Lickley, QC could see a large chunk of fee income disappearing. Aghast, he lapsed into legal-speak as he asked the judge for time to persuade his client to relent:
‘The course of the arraignment is not one we had anticipated. We ask for more time given what has just occurred.’
Mr Justice Sweeney briefly adjourned the case. Lickley told him he planned to meet his client again later in the week and would inform the court the following Monday whether she would stick to her pleas.
But Dennehy cut through all the legal rhubarb, shouting from the dock:
‘I’m not coming back down here again just to say the same stuff. It is a long way to come to say the same thing I have just said. I’ve pleaded guilty and that’s that.’
Perhaps this is the best thing she has ever done. She will be sentenced later.