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Real-life victim of Dirty John says Netflix's Dahmer series left her 'emotionally distraught' after five minutes

Poppy Bilderbeck

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Real-life victim of Dirty John says Netflix's Dahmer series left her 'emotionally distraught' after five minutes

A victim of con artist John Meehan has spoken out following the release of the Jeffrey Dahmer biographical crime drama on Netflix.

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Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story dropped on Netflix last month and immediately caused a stir.

Viewers were quick to jump to social media to warn others of the harrowing nature of the portrayal of the serial killer who was convicted of the brutal killing of seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991.

Terra Newell, who was attacked by her stepfather, con artist John Meehan - a.k.a Dirty John - has since opened up about how triggering she found the Dahmer series.

Terra Newell - victim of John Meehan - has spoken out against Netflix's Dahmer series. Credit: @terranewell/ Instagram
Terra Newell - victim of John Meehan - has spoken out against Netflix's Dahmer series. Credit: @terranewell/ Instagram

John Meehan was a con artist who went to extreme lengths to pull off insurance scams and 'seduced, swindled and terrorised multiple women' according to Christopher Goffard.

Meehan was also a nurse anaesthetist who stole drug supplies from the hospitals he worked at. His first wife, Tonia Sells, found the stolen items and reported Meehan to the police.

He reportedly harassed and threatened Sells and was handed a suspended sentence for menacing behaviour, however, the investigation into him was only just beginning.

After 17 months in prison - convicted of drug theft charges - Meehan took to dating sites looking for other women to target before marrying Donna Newell in December, 2014.

After the pair split, he attacked Donna's daughter, Terra, in a parking lot armed with a knife. Newell ended up getting control of the knife and killed Meehan in self-defence.

Series 'Dirty John' was based on con artist John Meehan. Credit: California Department of Corrections
Series 'Dirty John' was based on con artist John Meehan. Credit: California Department of Corrections

Having watched three episodes of Monster, Newell told Daily Star how she's been 'pretty emotionally distraught by it'.

"I actually stopped watching it after the first five minutes and then I went back to watch more because I wanted to have more knowledge of the show.

"But I also have to pay attention to my mental health. How much can I watch of this show?"

While many episodes are told from the perspective of his victims, Newell disagrees with how it has presented Dahmer.

She said: "I get that it grabs your attention but I had to kill someone with a knife so although I'm biased with my opinion, to see someone cleaning a knife, and planning these murders and to get glorified is disgusting to me."

Newell also spoke of her concern for Dahmer's victim's families watching the series, particularly as some families have spoken out about not having given their consent for the series to be made.

"I think that you need to compensate [the victim's families] especially if they do what I do, they're gonna go back to therapy, they're gonna pay those bills, they will struggle," she said.

Terra wanted to give her views on the Netflix show to show her solidarity with the victim's families, having gone through a similar process herself.

A television series was created out of the events surrounding Meehan called Dirty John, released in 2018. "When I did Dirty John they did ask me about my attack and and they essentially got consent for the show. It was going to be made with or without us but I did decide to get on board with it," Newell said.

Subsequently, when the 30-year-old heard that Dahmer's victim's families were 'upset', she became 'angry for them' and wanted to call out the series.

Terra resolved: "They don't realise how badly it re-traumatises you, even if you don't watch the show, there's really no escaping it."

If you're experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They're open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you're not comfortable talking on the phone 

Featured Image Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo/Netflix

Topics: Crime, Netflix, TV and Film, True Crime, Mental Health, Documentaries

Poppy Bilderbeck
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