Anthony Hardy: The Camden Ripper
"Hardy claimed he was a 'gregarious, intelligent, well- trusted man' until he was made redundant and divorced in the 1980s"
Martin Beckford, Court News UK
John Anthony Hardy is born in 1951 in the small town of Burton- upon-Trent in Staffordshire. He has uneventful childhood and excels in school, later studying engineering at Imperial College in London.
Hardy marries his university sweetheart, Judith Dwight in 1972 and has four children. The family later moves to Australia.
Hardy’s strange behaviour raises concerns about his mental health and he is diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. In 1982, Hardy is arrested for a serious attack against his wife. With an indication of the violence to come, Hardy freezes a bottle of water and clubs his wife around the head with it while she sleeps. Then he drags her to a bath and tries to drown her. They divorce in 1986. For years after, he stalks her and Hardy tells a psychiatrist, he wants to kill her. After the marriage fails, Hardy returns to Britain alone and moves from hostel to hostel, spending periods of time in mental hospitals and using prostitutes.
He is arrested again in 1998 when a prostitute accuses him of raping her. The charges are dropped due to lack of evidence. This pattern of evading justice would become a distinguishing feature of Hardy’s horrific crimes.
It also raises questions about how a mentally ill man against whom allegations of assault and rape are made, could be allowed to remain at large to kill and kill again.