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
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
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
“He said in his posh voice ‘it’s rubbish’,
I told him that it wasn’t rubbish and he should leave it alone,”
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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,”
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
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
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