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Black Widow gets life for poison curry murder.

BLACK WIDOW Dena Thompson was jailed for life yesterday for poisoning her second husband on his birthday with a curry laced with drugs.

It was the second time in three years that three-times married Thompson, 43, had been prosecuted for harming one of her spouses. In 2000, she was freed after a jury found her not guilty of trying to kill Richard Thompson, husband number three, during a sex bondage session.

But yesterday, an Old Bailey jury convicted her of killing her second husband Julian Webb at the home they shared in Yapton, Sussex, on his 31st birthday in June 1994.

It was a victory for his mother, school teacher Rosemary Webb, who had always insisted he did not take his own life as Thompson had claimed.

Mrs Webb wept as the jury found Thompson guilty of mur- der on a 10-1 majority.

Outside court, Mrs Webb said, 'Justice has now been done. Those of us who knew Julian well know he would never have committed suicide.

'It is with great sadness that those of us who are still here have discovered what she is really like. She is dishonest, untruthful, manipulative, deceitful and scheming.

'I cannot get out of my mind, thoughts of what Julian might have gone through when he was denied access to all friends and family.'

Mrs Webb pleaded with Thompson, of Cullompton, Devon, to tell the truth about Mr Webb's last days.

'One thing is clear, his last day was very unpleasant but she is not prepared to relieve our pain,' added Mrs Webb.

She had campaigned to have Thompson prosecuted believing she was responsible for her only child's death. His body was exhumed and new toxicology tests carried out.

But even after being led to the cells, Thompson was still pleading her innocence.

Her solicitor Steve Wedd said, 'She is devastated that she has been convicted. She believes that she has been convicted because of who she is, not what she did.'

Detective Chief Inspector Martyn Underhill said, 'Dena Thompson is the most dangerous woman I have ever met. This woman is every man's nightmare. For a decade, she has targeted men sexually, financially and physically.'

Michael Birnbaum QC, had told the court that Mr Webb, an advertising sales executive, was a happy, fitness fanatic who rarely took medication. But for the last week of his life, he was not seen.

Thompson handed paramedics empty bottles which had once contained Aspirin and the anti-depressant Doth- iepin after she said she found him dead in bed.

Mr Birnbaum said, 'Doth- iepin is a drug with a bitter taste and it would be hard to administer it to someone unless it was disguised in some way.

'She may have disguised the bitter taste with spicy food such as curry.'

A friend said Thompson told him Mr Webb had become ill after eating an extra hot curry to celebrate his birthday.

DENA THOMPSON married Julian Webb bigamously in 1991 while still married to first husband Lee Wyatt.

Mr Wyatt told the court she had made false accusations against him, made him go on the run and set him up to take the blame for her frauds.

After Mr Webb's death and eventually divorcing Mr Wyatt, Thompson married Richard Thompson.

They were later divorced after she attacked him with a baseball bat and a knife because she said she feared for her life.

The present jury was not told about the Lewes Crown Court case. Mr Thompson, 44, a project manager of Rustington, Littlehampton, West Sussex said yesterday, 'My initial reaction was just disbelief, because I thought she was going to get away with it again.

'Finally she has got her just desserts. I'm just so glad she has finally been found out.'

Judge Hyam said Thompson may have killed Mr Webb to try to implicate him in her money scam at the Woolwich Building Society where she worked, or because she thought she would benefit financially.

The court heard she was knocking on the door of his employers within hours of his death to ask about money.

His pounds 36,000 death benefit was eventually paid to his mother after she proved the marriage was illegal. Mrs Webb gave the money to charity.

Thompson had been jailed twice in the past for stealing from the Woolwich and for conning men out of money.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 16, 2003
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