Anthony Hardy

What are the chances of there being two killers in the village? Because there definitely was one we know about.

Born in Burton upon Trent in May 1951, Anthony Hardy lived in Winshill less than a mile from the deposition site. He attended Buron Grammar School and was reported by his schoolmates as an insular, solitary and unusual character. Hardy excelled academically being accepted to study engineering at the prestigious Imperial College London, one of the UK’s top universities. In September 1969 (a date within the range of Fred’s likely death date) and aged 18, Anthony Hardy moved to London to study, but like most undergraduates he frequently travelled back to Winshill during his university holidays.

Hardy’s life story

Hardy married and fathered three sons and one daughter; in 1982, he was arrested in Tasmania for trying to drown his wife, but the charges were later dropped. In 1986, Hardy’s wife, Judith, divorced him. This murder attempt did not correspond with his later M.O (Modis Operandi) an indicator that his M.O changed over time.

 After the divorce, Hardy spent time in mental hospitals, diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He was also treated in psychiatric hospitals across London for depression, drug-induced psychosis and alcohol abuse. He lived in various hostels in London, picking up convictions for theft and being drunk and disorderly. He was arrested in 1998 when a prostitute accused him of raping her, but the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. He became an alcoholic and diabetic.

The Camden Ripper 

In January 2002, police were called to the block of flats where Hardy lived by a neighbour complaining that someone had vandalised her front door and that she strongly suspected Hardy. When the police investigated Hardy’s flat, they found a locked door and, despite his claims to the contrary, found that Hardy had a key to it. In the room the police found the naked dead body of a woman lying on a bed with cuts and bruises to her head. She was identified as Sally White, 38, a prostitute who had been living in London.

 Forensic pathologist Freddy Patel subsequently concluded that White had died of a heart attack, despite the unusual and suspicious circumstances. Hardy pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal damage and claimed he had no knowledge of how White came to be in his flat due to his drinking problem. Whilst in custody Hardy was transferred to a psychiatric hospital, under section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983, remaining there until November 2002.

 On 30 December 2002, a homeless person scavenging in rubbish bins found the dismembered body parts of two women, wrapped in black plastic bin-liners. The victims were identified as Bridgette MacLennan, 34, and Elizabeth Valad, 29. The investigation led to Hardy, who was arrested a week later. Hardy had also photographed his victims and in one case put socks on the body.

He had disappeared without trace but was spotted by an off-duty policeman when he went to University College Hospital to collect his prescription for insulin. During a search of the grounds of the hospital, Hardy was found hiding behind bins. A subsequent search of his flat found evidence, including old blood stains, indicating the two women had been killed and dismembered there. Both had died over the Christmas holidays.

 Under arrest, Hardy simply replied “no comment” to every question put to him by police. He was eventually charged with the murders of both MacClennan and Valad, and of White, the woman whose death had originally been put down to natural causes. At his trial in November 2003 Hardy, despite his initial lack of cooperation with the police, abruptly changed his plea to guilty to all three counts of murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

 Hardy died in November 2020

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