UPDATED EVERY THURSDAY
Thursday 27th November 2003
All content © New Journal Enterprises, 2003.
 
 
 
 
 
NEWS   BY KIM JANSSEN and RICHARD OSLEY

Police forensic take a break from search Hardy’s flat on the College Place Estate in January


June Gentleman, and (below) the intimidating hate mail she received from Hardy



Victim: Elizabeth Valad


Victim: Brigitte MacLennan
How were the signs of a twisted killer missed?

STUNNED neighbours of the man convicted of the murders of three women in his Camden Town flat have rapped Camden Council for ignoring their pleas for help.
Tenants living on the College Place Estate in Royal College Street, where Anthony Hardy carried out the grisly murders, say they had urged the Town Hall to take action against him months before the murders.
They have also joined the chorus of criticism of the Camden and Islington Mental Health Trust for declaring Hardy fit to live on the estate without being adequately supervised.
As early as January 2002, June Gentleman, who has lived on the estate for 32 years, alerted estate managers to a poison pen letter written and delivered by Hardy following an altercation over refuse collection.
Mrs Gentleman had been clearing out bric-a-brac following the death of her father when Hardy began rummaging through sacks containing her belongings.
“He said in his posh voice ‘it’s rubbish’, I told him that it wasn’t rubbish and he should leave it alone,” she said.
A day later the offensive letter was posted through her letterbox.
Mrs Gentleman, still shaken by the experience, said her complaint was not taken seriously.
She added other Hartland residents were too frightened to speak out as the council considered an eviction case against Hardy.
“The council knew he was a care-in-the-community patient but we didn’t know what was happening,” Mrs Gentleman said. “People should be told because the same thing could happen again. You don’t know who could be living next door to you. It could be a psychopath.”
She added that the council only took interest when it circulated a newsletter warning tenants of the upcoming trial and asking for help.
Hardy was handed the flat after leaving the Arlington House hostel in Arlington Road, Camden Town, following a series of run-ins with fellow tenants and staff.
He was given the nicknames ‘Bonecrusher’, ‘The Bear’ and ‘Mr Bow Wow’ because he used his imposing six foot frame to bear hug tenants who disagreed with him.
“Men who were themselves not small guys would be gasping for breath when he began squeezing them”, said one source. “He seemed to think it was a joke but people came away thinking he was crazy.”
In College Place frightened witnesses chose not to give evidence in court to support the council’s possession order case.
Residents in the flat directly above Hardy’s former home, whose property was daubed with offensive graffiti by the three-times murderer, moved out of Camden when the extent of his crimes became known.
The estate’s tenants association is on the brink of folding after numbers at community meetings plummeted and the resignation of several long-standing members.
Only seven residents turned up to a recent meeting and tenants remain frustrated that the council have not closed off a road which runs through the estate attracting prostitutes and drug dealers. Several crack houses on the estate, including one notorious flat known as “the hole in the wall” because dealers inside were so quick at dispensing drugs, have been shut down since the murders.
Town Hall press officials released a statement in January stating residents were being offered counselling, but Mrs Gentleman said the service never materialised.
“They knew about the letter and they knew I was upset about it but nobody came and asked us how we were. There was no counselling,” she said. “I am so angry with Camden Council.”
Mrs Gentleman singled out ward councillor Roger Robinson as the only member of the council who had tried to help the tenants with the shock.
Hardy’s own ground floor flat, which has been boarded up with corrugated iron since the police investigation begun, is likely to be converted into a storage room.
Other tenants on the estate described the killer as a “loner” who made little effort to converse with his neighbours.
Residents remained wary of him, spooked by high heel shoes displayed on his windowsill and the garish murals on his wall visible from the street.
“He didn’t give you the time of day,” said one resident, who regularly spotted Hardy on his regular trips to a nearby off licence where he would buy two litre bottles of cider. “Even if you walked past him he wouldn’t say hello. It’s clear from what’s gone on that Hardy couldn’t relate to women. In fact he hated them.”
A statement from Camden Council’s press office said: “All the agencies involved join together to express their deepest condolences to the families of his victims and their sympathy to local people.
“Several agencies have already conducted internal management reviews of their involvement with Mr Hardy.”
The Town Hall is unwilling to comment further on the case or answer questions on any other aspect of Hardy’s tenancy.


Report ‘not important’
by Kim Janssen

A KEY psychiatric report recommending Anthony Hardy stay locked up was not seen by the panel which released him to kill.
But he would probably have been freed anyway, according to the man in charge of mental health services in Camden.
Erville Millar, chief executive of Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care Trust, told the New Journal on Tuesday that the detailed and specially commissioned forensic report into Hardy’s psychiatric history was “not important”.
The report, by consultant psychiatrist Dr Alan Stuart-Reid, warned that Hardy was “likely to cause others psychological or physical harm”. It was written on September 12, 2002, more than six weeks before the hearing at which Hardy was released, and backed up at least six warnings by Dr Ian Collis, Hardy’s own psychiatrist.
Dr Collis is understood to have said that Hardy was “very vulnerable to relapse” and should not be released.
But Mr Millar said Dr Stuart-Reid’s report had “not arrived in time”. He added: “The panel had to judge Mr Hardy’s mental health at the time of the hearing – the forensic report would not have added to that.
“They were not there to judge on the danger he posed but solely on his current health.
“They concluded he had got better.
“At the time we had not been told about any violent crimes he had committed, and we cannot act on allegations which have not been proven.”
The North London Forensic Service, for whom Dr Stuart-Reid worked, has offered no explanation for why the report did not arrive in time. A spokesman said: “The conclusion of the forensic report did not differ from the view of the consultant psychiatrist in charge of Mr Hardy’s care.
“It is highly unlikely that the report contained anything that would have altered the decision to discharge.”
Hardy had been detained at St Luke’s Hospital in Highgate in January 2002 under section 37 of the Mental Health Act after he poured battery acid through a neighbour’s door. Dr Stuart-Reid diagnosed him with ‘bipolar affective disorder’ – a form of depressive illness.
Dr Collis said at the time: “Women he is in a relationship or frequent contact with are at particular risk.”
Hardy appealed successfully against the section to the panel, which included campaigner Lady Doris Butterworth, retired social worker Peter Hall and magistrate Norman Hamilton, in November 2002.
But in the section of the panel’s report which dealt with Hardy’s files, someone wrote: “Not seen.” In their decision to release him, they wrote: “We can see that there is a mental illness but there is nothing to convince us that detention in hospital is necessary.”
Mr Millar added the trust’s inquiry into Mr Hardy’s release could not be published because that would breach Hardy’s confidentiality.

Inquest dismissed ‘signs of violence’
by Richard Osley
DETECTIVES dropped a murder investigation into Anthony Hardy a year before the discovery of body parts in Camden Town after a pathologist decided his first known victim had died from “natural causes”.
Police arrested Hardy on suspicion of murder after finding Sally Rose White’s naked body locked in his spare room.
The key to the room, which Hardy said was let to a lodger who was overseas for three weeks, was found stitched into a secret lining of his coat.
The Old Bailey heard on Tuesday that she had sustained a blow to the head and inside the bedroom a blood-stained hooded sweatshirt – thought to be worn by Ms White – was found. On the palm of her hand was written the words: “I only want £15”.
Prosecutor Richard Horwell said: “She had received a wound to the top of the head. She had a bite mark to the right thigh that the defendant had caused – that has been shown by scientific evidence.”
But detectives said after Tuesday’s hearing that the case had been “discontinued” following a report from Home Office pathologist Dr Freddy Patel which revealed the dead woman had suffered from coronary heart disease.
Dr Patel ruled Ms White, whose family live in Hampshire, had died from a heart attack and an inquest at St Pancras Coroner’s Court resulted in a “natural causes” verdict.
Coroner Dr Stephen Chan did not call Hardy to give evidence to the hearing. “There is no evidence of foul play or third party intervention,” he said.
The New Journal was the only newspaper in court and the case was heard in 15 minutes.
Dr Patel told the hearing: “There were no marks of violence.”
Detective Sergeant Alan Bostock added: “There is no evidence to suggest that he (Hardy) was responsible for her death. The investigation has been closed.”
Dr Chan has since left his post at St Pancras Coroner’s Court and has not been traced since.
Dr Patel was forced to review his decision on the case on January 1 as police began linking Hardy with the deaths of prostitutes Elizabeth Valad and Brigitte MacClennan.
Mr Horwell said that the pathologist had found evidence of heart disease. Dr Patel was unavailable for comment but police press officials said it had been discontinued “in the light of findings of Dr Patel that death had been from natural causes”.

A New Year horror story
by Richard Osley

THE six-foot frame of Anthony John Hardy fidgeted in the Old Bailey dock on Tuesday afternoon as details of how he murdered and mutilated two prostitutes in his Camden Town council flat were recounted.
But as Mr Justice Keith sentenced the divorced father-of-four to three life sentences he reacted nonchalantly before turning towards the cells.
Hardy, 53, had pleaded not guilty to the murders at an earlier hearing. But officers were left “gobsmacked” when he changed his plea on Tuesday morning and confessed.
He admitted killing vice girls Elizabeth Valad, 29, and Brigette MacClennan, 34, whose chopped-up body parts were discovered last December. Their heads and hands have still not been found despite searches of refuse sites in Bedfordshire and Neasden.
He also pleaded guilty to killing Sally Rose White, 38, in his flat nearly a year earlier.
Detectives believe Hardy may have struck on other occasions and are researching his whereabouts over the past 20 years.
They have refused to rule out linking his killing spree to the unsolved murder of prostitute Paula Fields, whose chopped-up body was found in the Regent’s Canal in 2001.
Richard Horwell, prosecuting, said: “A motive for the murders, we suggest, is that he decided to kill these women in order to photograph them in various positions which he had arranged when they were dead.”
The case traced back to the discovery of Ms White’s naked body found locked in a bedroom at Hardy’s flat on the Hartland Block of the College Place estate in Royal College Street, Camden Town, in January 2002. Police stumbled across her corpse after investigating complaints that Hardy had daubed offensive graffiti on a neighbour’s door and poured acid from a car battery through her letterbox. Hardy was aggrieved that a leak from an upstairs flat had begun seeping into his home, the court heard.
The discovery of Ms White’s body led to his arrest for murder. But the case was “discontinued” when a pathologist ruled she had died from “natural causes” (see opposite page). Hardy was later sectioned at St Luke’s Hospital in Muswell Hill. He was discharged last November and returned to his flat.
On December 30, James Casey – a rough sleeper known as The Cowboy – found a pair of human legs as he searched for scraps of food in a bin behind the College Arms pub in nearby Crowndale Road.
It sparked a massive police hunt which led to the find of more human remains in bins in Plender Street, Camden Town.
CCTV footage shows Hardy using the wheelie bin. His home was searched on December 31. Mr Horwell told the court: “Officers immediately became aware of a revolting smell from behind the door.”
The stench led officers to the discovery of Ms Valad’s torso. Stains of her blood were found on tiles in the bathroom.
Piles of pornographic magazines and videos were also discovered alongside letters detailing his extreme sexual fantasies. Nearby was a hacksaw and knives.
Mr Horwell said: “Elizabeth Valad, like Sally White, had become a crack cocaine addict and financed that habit through street prostitution.” Ms Valad, a mother-of-one originally from Nottingham, made her final call on her mobile phone on December 19. She was later identified by unique pin codes stamped on implants in her breasts and buttocks. A post-mortem revealed her voicebox had been shattered, leading detectives to believe she was strangled before her body was cut-up.
New Zealand-born Brigitte MacClennan – evicted by Camden Council from her flat after a string of complaints – was murdered on Christmas Day. She had two children from past relationships who are in the custody of their fathers.
Police began a three-day hunt which ended with Hardy’s arrest at Great Ormond Street Hospital in Holborn on January 2 as he begged for drugs to treat his chronic diabetes – worsened by alcoholism. On New Year’s Eve he had been spotted in Wardour Street, Soho, where he had photographs developed. The negatives of 44 pictures of Ms Valad and Ms MacCennan taken after their deaths were mailed by Hardy to Frank Leavey, a friend he met in St Luke’s.
Malcolm Swift QC, defending, told the court: “Anthony Hardy accepts he used excessive force in consensual but extreme sexual activity. He did not have an intent to kill.”
He said Hardy’s life had fallen apart in the mid-1980s following redundancy and divorce. Contact with his four children who live with his ex-wife was cut. The lawyer said the killer had remorse and had said “he would rather he was dead than they were.”
He added Hardy accepted that there were no grounds for a diminished responsibility plea.