‘Black Widow’ killer will be released from prison, under parole board rules

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A woman dubbed the Black Widow after murdering her husband with a poisoned curry on his birthday could be out of jail within weeks.

The parole board has accepted Dena Thompson’s request for release, saying it could be as soon as next month.

Now 61, Thompson was jailed for life in 2003 after being found guilty of murdering her second husband, Julian Webb, at their home in Yapton, Sussex, on her 31st birthday in June 1994 .

Described by police as a ‘dangerous woman’ and ‘every man’s nightmare’, Thompson, from Cullompton, Devon, had a habit of scamming men out of money.

Officers said she had targeted men ‘sexually, financially and physically’ for a decade.

In a document setting out the decision, the parole board said: ‘After reviewing the circumstances of her offence, the progress made while in custody and the other evidence presented at the hearing, the board was satisfied that Ms Thompson was fit to be released when suitable. accommodation became available in early June 2022.”

Thompson, whose minimum prison sentence was later increased to 16 years, hid antidepressants in Mr Webb’s favorite meal and mixed his drinks with ground aspirin, but claimed he killed himself .

The truth about his crimes only emerged seven years after the murder, when his body was exhumed from a family plot on Hayling Island, Hampshire.

A witness had come forward after a jury cleared Thompson in 2000 of attempting to kill her third husband, Richard Thompson, during a sexual bondage session.

New tests revealed a higher level of drugs in Mr. Webb’s body than expected.

Thompson married Mr Webb bigatically in 1991 while still married to her first husband, Lee Wyatt, who told the court she had made false accusations against him, chased him away and got blamed for his frauds.

After Mr. Webb’s death and Mr. Wyatt’s divorce, she married Mr. Thompson.

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

At the time of her crimes, Thompson was “deceitful”, “could hold grudges” and was not always “in control of her temper”, according to parole board documents.

While behind bars, she had undergone rehabilitation classes, therapy, training and had already been temporarily released from prison.

All of the professionals who testified at the hearing recommended her release on license, according to the document, and parole judges concluded that the plan, which will see restrictions placed on who she contacts, her movements and his activities, was “sufficiently robust” to support his continued surveillance outside the prison.

Thompson will also have to disclose any new relationships, provide details of the vehicles she uses, and her passport and bank details if required. She will also have to wear an electronic tag and abide by a curfew.

Another factor that would reduce the risk of recidivism was the “financial support constituted by the sale of his works of art”, added the parole document.


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