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Last Updated: Monday, 15 December, 2003, 19:45 GMT
'Curry killing' wife jailed
Dena Thompson
Dena Thompson had denied murdering her husband
A woman found guilty of murdering her husband with a drugs overdose disguised in a curry has been jailed for life.

Dena Thompson, 43, had denied killing Julian Webb on his 31st birthday in June 1994 at the home they shared in Yapton, West Sussex.

But an Old Bailey jury on Monday returned a guilty verdict on Thompson, of Larks Rise, Cullompton, Devon.

Thompson hid bitter-tasting anti-depressants in Mr Webb's favourite meal, a spicy curry, and gave him drinks containing ground aspirin.

The men of Britain can sleep safe tonight knowing she has been taken off the streets
Detective Chief Inspector Martyn Underhill

Detective Chief Inspector Martyn Underhill said outside court: "This woman is every man's nightmare.

"For a decade she has targeted men sexually, financially and physically.

"The men of Britain can sleep safe tonight knowing she has been taken off the streets."

The truth came to light seven years after Mr Webb, a newspaper sales executive, was buried in a family plot in Hayling Island, Hampshire.

His mother Rosemary Webb, who never believed her son had taken his own life, wept as her former daughter-in-law was jailed.

Bondage session

She had warned her son against the marriage following a whirlwind romance and was always convinced Thompson had murdered him.

Mr Webb's body was exhumed after Thompson was cleared in 2000 of trying to kill her third husband, Richard Thompson.

A jury at Lewes Crown Court heard then how she attacked Mr Thompson with a baseball bat and a knife because she feared for her life during a bondage sex session.

Rosemary Webb outside court
Rosemary Webb never believed her son had taken his own life
She was jailed for three years and nine months for conning Mr Thompson and two former lovers of 12,000.

Mr Thompson, from Littlehampton said after the verdict he was "so glad" Thompson had been found out.

He said: "My initial reaction was just disbelief because I thought she was going to get away with it again."

The Old Bailey heard Thompson killed Mr Webb because she feared a double life was about to be exposed and she wanted his 36,000 death benefit.

She was still married to her first husband when she bigamously wed Mr Webb.

The Recorder of London Michael Hyam said: "You brought about Julian Webb's death by poisoning him.

"What you did was utterly ruthless and without pity. Nothing can excuse you for the wickedness of what you did."

The defence had said Mrs Thompson was being prosecuted because Mr Webb's friends and family could not accept he had been depressed and had committed suicide.

The BBC's Annita McVeigh
"She is maintaining her innocence"

Jury retires in wife murder case
12 Dec 03  |  England
Wife's lies 'do not prove murder'
10 Dec 03  |  England
Accused wife 'spun web of lies'
20 Nov 03  |  England

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