A mum of one had a lucky escape, after police told her she was next on a list to be brutally murdered by a deranged female serial killer.
Carla White, 40 from Peterbrough was shown a hit list of names who were going to be murdered, and three of the names had already been crossed off.
Joanna Dennehy, 32, was found guilty of three murders and attempted murder of two others. The crimes, which shocked a nation, meant that Dennehy was only the third British woman to receive a whole-life sentence. She even told a psychiatrist she found murder “more-ish”.
The twisted killer didn’t work alone and had three accomplices who had “fallen under her spell” were also jailed for their part in the gruesome murderous rampage. Seven foot 3in Gary Stretch, 48, was jailed for a minimum of 19 years. Leslie Layton, 36, received 14 years and Robert Moore, 56, of Peterborough, got three years.
Carla had know Gary “Stretch” Richards since 2002 as he and his ex-partner were Carla’s neighbours. Little did she know that years’ later this friendship would bring her close to a gruesome death at the hands of Joanna Dennehy.
Carla said: “Gary moved in with me to a shared house in Peterbrough in February 2013 into a property owned by landlord Kevin Lee, who became one of her victims.
“About a week after we moved in Kevin came around to check the property and Joanna was with him. I said “Hello I’m Carls,” she replied “I don’t give a s**t who you are.” I told her that was very rude and she turned to me and said, “I don’t want to know you,” then she ran at me and began to strangle me, I couldn’t breath. I reached for the nearest object, which was a hammer and she let me go.
“Kevin didn’t try and break-up the fight, but told us we should try and get along, once she had let go of my neck. We were never going to be mates after that. She was clearly a psychopath.
“I am not the type of person to back down and I could tell she didn’t like that. I told Kevin, “you are playing with fire.” But he clearly didn’t take on board what I was saying.”
From that day on Carla’s cards were marked. Joanna began working as Kevin’s enforcer making sure people vacated properties or paid their rent on time. Carla’s housemate Gary “Stretch” befriended Joanna and she visited the property a number of times over the coming weeks.
Carla said: “She would come around to see Gary and there was nothing I could do about it. We barely acknowledged each other when she came into the house. I reckon she must have come around about ten times or more.
“Gary was like her lap dog and did what ever she told him to. Joanna was always bragging saying she had just got out of jail after ten years for killing her father, because he had been abusing her.
“I wasn’t impressed and it was all lies. She would also walk around the place in just her jeans and a bra. Her stomach had hundreds of scars from where she had self-harmed. She also always had a knife in her pocket at all times.”
“I avoided her as much as possible, but it wasn’t that easy in a small property. She would sit and stare at me with evil in her eyes.
It wasn’t just Carla who noticed Joanna’s behaviour, rumours on the estate spread that she was sleeping with multiple male and female partners and would ask them to punch her during intercourse.
Carla says: “People on the estate said she was crazy and to watch her. Gary even said to me Joanna will end up killing Kevin.”
Then on Good Friday 2013 Carla came home to what she thought was an empty house.
Carla said: “I came into the house and it seemed empty then I walked up the stairs and heard mumbling behind Gary’s door. I asked who was there and I heard Joanna shout, “f**k off you black b***h.” I was so angry I was going to charge into the room and fill her in, but decided against it.”
In fact Gary and Joanna had just carried out the murder of Kevin Lee. Then on Easter Sunday police arrived at Carla’s door.
She said: “I heard loud banging on the door and there were about twelve policemen outside. This called out “Miss White” and I wondered how they knew my name.
“I let them in and they charged upstairs and knocked down Gary’s door, but he wasn’t their, then they did a whole search of the property. They didn’t tell me what was going on. I rang Kevin Lee to see if he would know, but he was already dead.
“On Easter Monday the police arrived again and asked me if I had anywhere safe to go. I demanded to know why. The policeman said there is no need to be alarmed, then he showed me a piece of paper with seven names on, three had been crossed off and they were already dead. My name was the next on the list. They told me it was Joanna’s hit list.”
Terrified Carla fled to a friend’s house, Joanne was still on the run and she might have in her possession Kevin’s master key. For the next two days Carla lived in total fear, until a phone call on Thursday.
She said: “I couldn’t sleep after I found out about the list. I was having panic attacks, and listing to every noise in the house at night. I wondered if there were others accomplices.
“The police called and said they had arrested everyone involved and asked if I would give evidence at any future trial and I agreed.”
Carla was just happy Joanna had been arrested and she couldn’t continue her sick killing spree.
She said: “I could tell Joanna was pure evil from the first time I met her. I knew she was bad news. I didn’t think she was capable of killing, but if anyone could have it would be her.
“I thought back to all of the altercations between us both and realised I was playing with fire. I seemed to be in constant battles with her from the first moment I met her. I was lucky to be alive.”
“I never thought Gary was capable of what he did, and I can never forgive him for his sickening crimes, he writes to me all the time now and I think he is obsessed with me. I read his letters and he feels sorry for himself. He was a big man but was weak willed and she playing on that part of his personality.
“I can’t feel sympathy for someone who was part of those events. Everyone should know right from wrong and what they did was like something from a horror film“
“I’m just glad she can never get out of jail, as I know she will come after me and kill
me. I have no doubt of that.” Carla may well be correct; when Judge Mr Justice Spencer handed down Joanna’s whole life term he told smirking Dennehy: “Within the space of 10 days you murdered three men in cold blood. Although you pleaded guilty you have made it quite clear you have no remorse for those murders.”