'Camden ripper' given three life sentences

A man who became known as the Camden Ripper has been given three life sentences for murdering the women to "satisfy his depraved and perverted needs". Earlier today, he dramatically changed his plea and admitted murdering three women when he appeared at the Old Bailey.

Anthony Hardy, 53, of Royal College Street, Camden, north London, admitted murdering Sally White, 31, Elizabeth Valad, 29, and Bridgette MacClennan, 34, who all died last year.

Hardy had previously denied their murders but changed his plea within minutes of appearing in dock.

His counsel, Malcolm Swift QC, asked the judge to allow three charges to be read to him again. Grey-haired and bespectacled Hardy replied "guilty" as each was read out.

Parts of the dismembered remains of Miss MacClennan and Miss Valad, who both lived in London, were found in bin bags and rubbish bins in north London in the early hours of December 30, 2002.

The body of Miss White, who also lived in London, was found in January last year.

Flanked by dock officers, Hardy was led back to cells after admitting the murders. Details of the case are due to be opened later today.

Hardy, who was wearing a dark blue sweatshirt, sat between dock officers after

entering his pleas.

He looked around the court as Mr Swift asked the judge for more time to make submissions on his behalf.

Mr Swift said: "We would like to prepare carefully any remarks that we make before sentencing."

He also said he would consider submitting a written basis of plea which would outline Hardy's reasons for pleading guilty.

Mr Swift added: "We would be most grateful if the case could be disposed of again."

But junior prosecutor Crispin Aylett said he would have to consult chief prosecution counsel Richard Horwell who was not available this morning.

Mr Justice Keith adjourned the case until this afternoon.

None of the victims' families were in court this morning.

Police would not comment officially on the dramatic turn of events, but a senior detective said: "He had nowhere else to go."

Anthony Hardy is a larger-than-life character who would stand out in a crowd - but for three days last year, he disappeared as he became Britain's most wanted man. A huge police hunt was launched after the dismembered remains of two of the victims were found by a tramp in bin bags near his home.

But after shaving his beard and leaving his flat in Camden, he went unnoticed to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead on December 30 last year, where he pinned a note up in the chapel.

It said: "Please pray for Tony Hardy's immortal soul. 30/12/02. Happy New Year."

Two days later, 6ft 3ins Hardy was caught on CCTV cameras in the casualty department of the University College Hospital, central London, where he tried to get treatment for diabetes.

He was arrested the next day at Great Ormond Street Hospital, after making another trip to the Royal Free, praying in the chapel.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas