Top award for police team who tracked down notorious female serial killer

Joanna Dennehy

Joanna Dennehy - Credit: Archant

Detectives have been given a top award for tracking down the first British female serial killer to be ordered to die behind bars.

Joanna Dennehy

Joanna Dennehy - Credit: Archant

The tri-force major crime unit, made up of officers from Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshshire and Bedfordshire Police has won the Investigation of the Year award for bringing serial killer Joanne Dennehy and her accomplices to justice.

It was one of the largest investigations in recent times involving multiple murders, the disposal of bodies and a subsequent nationwide hunt resulting in the arrest and trial of what the judge said was “a cruel, calculating, selfish and manipulative serial killer”.

DCI Martin Brunning said: “This is a really proud moment. The investigation shows the power of joined up working and that dangerous people can be locked up when we work together.

“Joanne Dennehy is the country’s most dangerous woman and the fact that she will remain in prison for the rest of her life is not only justice for the families of the victims whose lives have been damaged forever but also for the team of officers who worked so hard to ensure no one could ever suffer at her hands again. I am very proud to accept this on behalf of the team.”

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The Operation Darcy/Dante investigation team from the three major crime units received the award from the Police Federation National Detective Forum (PFNDF) in Brighton.

Led by Detective Chief Inspector Martin Brunning and supervised by Detective Sergeants Andy Crocker and Mark Jinks, the team worked tirelessly throughout the cross-border investigation resulting in the arrest and prosecution of both Dennehy and her three male accomplices.

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With more than 700 statements taken, nearly 400 officer reports filed and more than 80 taped interviews, the meticulous attention to detail of all detectives involved played a significant part in securing Dennehy’s guilty plea pre-trial.

In February, Dennehy was sentenced to a life sentence without possibility of parole for three murders, concurrent life imprisonment for two attempted murders and 12 years for preventing burials of her victims, becoming the first female in British history to receive such a sentence direct from a judge.

Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright said: “This is another example which demonstrates the importance of collaboration.

“Having such a wealth of detectives available from the three forces at such short notice meant Dennehy and her accomplices were quickly brought to justice.

“The award is well-deserved and testament to the benefits of collaboration.”

PFNDF Secretary Paul Ford said: “It never ceases to amaze me how complicated policing has become and this investigation is a great example of that.

“The Operation Darcy/Dante team put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to make sure the offenders were brought to justice and the witnesses and victims were supported.”

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