Anthony John Hardy: The Camden Ripper
To date, it is unknown if Hardy was responsible for the murders of Zoe Parker and Paula Fields. However, police continue to believe that the cases are likely connected. Moreover, it is believed that Hardy was also responsible for up to five or six other area murders that bore marked similarities to the ones for which he was convicted. Yet, there is not enough evidence available that directly implicates him in the murders.
In actuality, there were few women who crossed Hardys path during the peak of his murder spree and lived to tell about it. The only two exceptions that police were aware of were that of Kelly Anne Nicol and Frances Mayhew, 25. The stories they recounted lent some insight into how Hardy may have lured some of his victims to their deaths.
In December 2002, prior to the bodies being found in the garbage bins, Frances received a phone call from Hardy claiming that he had her handbag, which she allegedly lost. He gave her his address and told her that if she wanted it she could come by his flat and collect the bag. Neil Sears said in his December 2003 article in The Daily Mail, that Mayhew felt uncomfortable about going to a strangers house to retrieve her bag and contacted police for advice about what she should do.
Frances was assured that there was no danger in going alone to the mans house but it would be in her best interest if she informed someone of where she was. Still feeling nervous about going to Hardys house by herself, she asked if her landlady would accompany her. It was a decision that probably saved her life.
When they arrived at Hardys residence, Frances landlady waited in the car while she went to fetch her handbag. When Hardy answered the door, his unusual demeanor and the bazaar décor of his house immediately formed a negative impression on her. The Daily Mail quoted Frances, saying that her first impressions were of an unattractive man in an awful tracksuit trousers far too low down his waist. Moreover, she noticed that the walls in his house were decorated with numerous black crosses and odd pictures of human anatomy.
According to BBC News, Hardy tired to entice her in but she refused. In fact, he told Frances that if she didnt come into the house he wouldnt give her the bag. Frightened by Hardys strange behavior, Frances told him to keep it and walked back to her car. Irritated at her refusal to come into the house, Hardy threw her purse at her. BBC News reported that after three days she received letters and Christmas cards from him, which prompted her to call the police.
Shortly thereafter, Frances went away for the holidays. Upon her return she learned of the murders he committed. The article further quoted her saying that had he been at all violent and tried to drag me into the flat or something, the likelihood of me being in small pieces right now is very high.
Kelley Nicol was another potential victim that narrowly escaped Hardys murderous wrath in December 2002. According to Lynn McPhersons November 2003 article in the Sunday Mail, Hardy repeatedly tried to persuade Nicol to come into his flat. However her instinct warned her to not do it. Had Kelly not followed it, she would likely have fallen victim to Hardy. The fact is, no one really knows why Hardy did the things he did. He still has many secrets left to reveal.