Hereford stabbing victims speak of their ordeal after Joanna Dennehy is handed a whole life-term (From Hereford Times)
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Hereford stabbing victims speak of their ordeal after Joanna Dennehy is handed a whole life-term
Updated 5:16pm Friday 28th February 2014 in News
TWO men who were randomly stabbed by Joanna Dennehy have spoken about their ordeal after the serial killer was handed a whole life term today.
Both Robin Bereza and John Rogers were walking their dogs when the attacks happened in April last year.
The stabbings occurred while 31-year-old Dennehy was "on the run" after murdering three men in Cambridgeshire.
Retired firefighter Robin, who was stabbed in Westfaling Street, Hereford, had celebrated his 36th wedding anniversary with his wife Pam the night before.
He said he decided to take his Labrador dog Samson for a walk in the afternoon and remembers hearing a car stop nearby.
"It was a nice spring day and I decided to take a different route from normal due to the ground being muddy," said Robin, through a police statement.
"I felt a punch in my back and thought someone had may be thrown a stone."
Robin was in fact stabbed by Dennehy, who continued the assault.
Robin fought back by punching and kicking his attacker before she left the scene.
Robin did not have a mobile phone to call the emergency services, so decided to walk half a mile to his home and see his wife.
"I just wanted to get home to Pam - that was all I could think about," said Robin.
"My house was uphill and I passed a doctor's surgery on the way, but I was determined to see my wife."
It was Robin's stepfather who saw him first and alerted the police.
Robin was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where he spent five days in the intensive care unit.
He has a son and daughter who have helped him come to terms with what happened and encouraged him to return to the scene of the crime and face his fears.
"I'm not as confident as I used to be - I'm quieter and not my normal self," said Robin.
"I used to run for miles in all weathers, but I'm not so keen."
Meanwhile, John Rogers was stabbed shortly afterwards as he walked his whippet/greyhound cross Archie on a footpath near Golden Post.
"Initially, I thought it was someone messing about, may be a mate or a neighbour having a laugh," said John.
"When I turned round and saw the woman, I was completely confused.
"She kept stabbing me in the chest and was forcing me backwards down the slope.
"I was worried about falling backwards and banging my head and I let the dog lead go, but Archie didn't run away."
John ended up on the ground and pleaded for Dennehy to leave him alone, but she continued to stab him.
Eventually, she stole his dog and was arrested at a nearby flat a short time later.
John was found by a passing woman, who called the emergency services.
He was taken to Hereford County Hospital, before being airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
John sustained multiple stab wounds and lost lots of blood.
Both his lungs were punctured and he endured six hours of surgery.
He spent five days in the ITU department and five days on a ward, before being allowed to go home.
His dog was spotted by a friend of his and returned to him.
John still has hospital appointments and is also having physiotherapy for a hand injury.
"I have enjoyed playing the guitar as a hobby since the age of 16, but I'm not the same standard any more," said John.
"I have lost the feeling in some of the fingers on my left hand due to the stab wounds."
John said he did not leave his flat for a week after returning from hospital and had nightmares about the incident.
"It's not just the effect this has had on me, it's the ripple effect on others," said John.
"My wife has been very stressed about the whole thing and it has affected my mother-in-law and sister too.
"However, I made the decision I was not going to let this woman ruin my life."
John has since become good friends with the woman who helped him and has met up with Robin during the court appearances.
"We have enjoyed meeting each other and talking," said Robin.
"It turns out we have a similar taste in music.
"John has met my wife and we are going to meet again in the future so I can meet Andrea, John's wife."
The pair added that they would like to thank the emergency services who helped them and the witnesses who testified against Gary Stretch and Leslie Layton, Dennehy's accomplices.
They also want to thank Detective Constable Sharon Parry, the family liaison officer and the West Mercia Police team who investigated the stabbings.
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