'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
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
News
Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon
news
News
Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-chol
news
News
Manchester city skyline as seen from Oldham above the streets of terraced houses in North West England on 7 April 2015.
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?