The Hunt for the Camden Ripper

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Published on 26th May 2017 by

The Hunt for the Camden Ripper is a documentary directed by Olly Lambert, first broadcast in 2004 by the UK television station Channel 4. It tells the story of the hunt for a serial killer known as the ‘Camden Ripper’, which began around Christmas in 2002 when human body parts were discovered behind a pub, the discovery of the bodies of three women shocked the city of London. The subsequent man hunt was one of the biggest ever undertaken by the Metropolitan Police.

The man eventually charged and then jailed for the murders was Anthony Hardy, a man with a history of domestic violence against his female partners and some time spent in mental institutions, he drifted between various hostels in London and picked up various minor criminal convictions along the way. There were several missed warning signs with Hardy, in 1998 he was arrested and charged with raping a prostitute but the charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence, and in January 2002 police investigated a dispute that he was having with a neighbour and found a dead female body in his bedroom.

Forensic pathologist Dr Freddy Patel determined that the dead woman, 38 year old prostitute Sally White, had died of a heart attack, and Hardy was only convicted of criminal damage in relation to the dispute with his neighbour. Whilst on remand in prison he had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and transferred to a psychiatric hospital where he remained until November 2002. In December 2002 a homeless man scavenging for food in bins behind a pub found some body parts which were determined to belong to two women. Those women were Bridgette MacClennan, 34, and Elizabeth Valad, 29.

The police investigation led police to Hardy who had gone on the run but was spotted by an off-duty police officer whilst he visited a hospital to collect an insulin prescription, after a fight with police he was arrested and a search of his flat conducted, evidence found included blood stains which proved that the two women had been murdered there. He was charged with both murders, as well as the murder of Sally White. Hardy has now been handed a whole life tariff, meaning that he is one of a select few British prisoners who will definitely never see freedom.

BOOK

There are no books about Hardy that we feel able to recommend for those interested in criminology and serial killers, but you may want to check out the 2009 book A History of British Serial Killing by criminal profiler and former Prison Governor Professor David Wilson, who himself has met and analysed numerous high profile British serial killers. It is available in paperback, hardback, and kindle editions.

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