'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
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable