'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
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power