Anthony John Hardy: The Camden Ripper
According to a November 2003 article in The Daily Mail, Anthony John Hardy was born in 1951 in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire and was the son of a coal miner. From an early age Hardy yearned to escape the lower middle-class lifestyle in which he was raised. He worked hard in school and excelled academically. Ultimately, he was accepted at Londons Imperial College to study engineering.
During the mid-1970s, Hardy met and married Judith Dwight, with whom he attended university. The couple moved to Tasmania, Australia, where they raised their two boys and two girls. However, Justin Davenport and Hugh Dougherty reported in a November 2003 article in The Evening Standard that from as early as 1982 Hardy displayed symptoms of mental illness.
The Daily Mail article claimed that during that year, Hardy tried to kill Judith by bludgeoning her over the head with a water bottle, before trying to drown her in the bath. No charges were filed against Hardy and he checked himself into a psychiatric clinic in Queensland following the incident. He remained there for several weeks before returning back to Britain.
The couple filed for divorce in 1986. Judith maintained custody of the children and like Hardy, moved back to Britain to begin a new life. Shortly after returning to his home country, Hardy began stalking Judith, which led to her filing a restraining order against him. Davenport and Dougherty claimed that he broke the restriction order and as a result he was temporarily imprisoned.
Following his release, Hardy sought psychiatric help at outpatient clinics. According to Jeanette Oldhams January 2003 article in The Scotsman, he was diagnosed with, peripheral neuropathy, a disorder which is known to cause depression. He was also diagnosed with manic depression and prescribed medication to reduce symptoms.
In the early- and mid-1990s, Hardy was homeless and spent much of his time living in various hostels throughout the city. During that time, Hardy began abusing drugs and alcohol, which further exacerbated his psychological problems. He got into trouble with the law on several more occasions for aggressive behavior and theft for which he served a short stint in jail.
Davenport and Dougherty reported that in 1998 Hardy was arrested for indecent assault after a prostitute claimed he had raped her but the charges were later dropped and he was released. A January 2003 BBC News article reported that he was also investigated for three other rapes, yet, there was insufficient evidence to bring a case against him. However, he was ordered to seek psychiatric counseling, which he took advantage of at a local hospital. He was eventually discharged and referred to out patient care.
In 2000, Hardy moved into a one-bedroom public housing flat on Royal College Street in Camden. Oldham suggested that his new residence was located a short distance from Kings Cross, an area where prostitutes frequented. It was a location that Hardy deliberately chose for that very reason. The neighborhood would become his hunting grounds.
In January 2002, Hardy caught the attention of police once again when he was caught pouring battery acid into a neighbors mailbox. At around the same time a concerned neighbor told police that they believed something was amiss at Hardys flat. The tip led to a gruesome discovery.
When police arrived at Hardys residence, they found the bedroom door locked. When they broke it open they found the corpse of a young woman lying naked on his bed. The Daily Mail reported that there was evidence the woman suffered from cuts to her head, bite marks and bruising, indicating that she might have been murdered. However, pathologists claimed that she died of a heart attack and not foul play.
The woman was later identified as Sally Rose White, 38, a prostitute from the Kings Cross area, who was known to have an addiction to crack cocaine. The Daily Mail suggested that Sally suffered from brain damage and behavioral problems caused by a birth-related spinal cord injury. It was believed that her condition, which worsened with age and lack of treatment, coupled with her addiction to drugs resulted in her heart attack. However, her death from natural causes would later be questioned when the remains of other women were discovered in Hardys flat.