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Police to quiz 'Black Widow'

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: March 15, 2010

Dena Thompson, of Cullompton, Devon, was jailed for life

A WOMAN dubbed the Black Widow after murdering her husband with a poisoned curry is facing a new investigation after it emerged that one of her previous boyfriends vanished.

In 2003, Dena Thompson, of Cullompton, Devon, was jailed for life after hiding bitter-tasting anti-depressants in Julian Webb's favourite meal on his 31st birthday.

It has now been reported that Interpol has resumed a search for a Bulgarian man she dated in the 1980s.

Stoyan Kostov apparently disappeared while he was dating Thompson – then going under her maiden name Holmes – in the 1970s and 1980s while she was training as a young gymnast in Svishtov, Bulgaria.

A search by British and local police turned up no clues to where Kostov went.

The Mail on Sunday has reported that Detective Chief Inspector Martyn Underhill of Sussex Police, who investigated the UK killing and described Thompson as the "most dangerous woman I have ever met", said of Kostov: "We cannot rule out the possibility that other partners have been injured in some way."

The newspaper reported one investigator as saying: "Some sort of incident seems to have happened in Bulgaria but we don't know what it was."

A Bulgarian news agency said UK journalist Adrian Gatton, who in 2005 made a documentary for Channel 4 on Thompson's 20-year career of deception, was investigating the case for a book.

Thompson, now 49, was jailed in 2003 for murdering Mr Webb at the home they shared in Yapton, West Sussex.

It was the second time in three years that three-times married Thompson 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, another husband, during a bondage session.

The petite blonde was accused of attacking the BT manager with a baseball bat while he was tied up on the bathroom floor at their home in West Sussex. She was jailed for three years and nine months for 15 counts of deception but was acquitted of attempted murder.

By her own admission, Mr Webb was one of a string of men she preyed upon, first marrying him bigamously before making him believe she had secured him work with a newspaper in Florida.

The court was told 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 as Thompson told telephone callers he was ill or depressed.

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

Lawyers said dothiepin was a drug with a bitter taste and it would be hard to administer it to someone unless it was disguised in some way, hence using spicy food such as curry.

At her 2003 trial, Judge Michael Hyam told Thompson: "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."

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

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."

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