The Camden Ripper | Anthony John Hardy: Part One

(Anthony John Hardy. Photo credit:

In the early 2000s, fear was in the air in London. Dismembered female remains were being discovered in bins, in a canal in Camden and in the River Thames. All of the victims were sex workers and the murders had echoes of the infamous Jack The Ripper case. Nobody knew when or where the murderer would strike next. 

In this series of posts I will be focusing on the crimes and background of Anthony John Hardy and his victims. Anthony was given the nickname ''The Camden Ripper'' by the press which I'm sure had suited him fine as he was obsessed with Jack The Ripper and aimed to follow in his footsteps. As you know, I always aim to give a detailed account of what happened during the crimes and sometimes graphic and disturbing details are included in the posts. 

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Let's begin...

Anthony John Hardy's childhood was a quiet one, there was nothing alarming about him. He was a well behaved boy who was very intelligent for his age and would always strive to do better especially when it came to his school work. He was born on the 31st of May 1951 in Burton Upon Trent, Staffordshire, England and was the youngest of five children. His father was a Coal Miner and like a lot of working class families back then, it was expected that Anthony would grow up to follow in his father's footsteps. Anthony had a bit of a snobbish attitude to his working class background and didn't want to be a Coal Miner, he wanted the finer things in life and he decided to work even harder to get them.

He excelled academically at school and his teachers described him as a bright individual who was quick to learn and was well mannered. He attended grammar school and later won a place at the Imperial College in London. People who knew him back then describe Anthony as being very charismatic, intelligent and good looking. He was popular with girls and was a natural at holding interesting and pleasant conversations with both male and female friends.

It was during college that Anthony met and fell in love with Judith Dwight, she was very taken with his charming personality and found him to be both attractive and very intelligent. He seemed to be the perfect gentleman and it wasn't long till Anthony asked Judith to marry him. Judith accepted and they were both looking forward to sharing their lives together. After graduating, Anthony got a job as an Engineer with British Sugar which was quite a high status job. Things were working out perfectly for Anthony and now that they were financially stable, he and Judith began making plans to start a family.

Anthony and Judith's marriage in the beginning seemed to be a happy one and they were blessed with three sons and one daughter.

By Anthony's late 20s, cracks began to appear in the marriage and he would become verbally abusive to Judith and his children. He would have mood swings and would often sit staring into space. Judith tried her best to support him and make things easy for him when he was at home, she thought his behaviour was down to stress from work. Unknown to her, Anthony was visiting sex workers and having affairs whilst he was travelling away from home for work.

As well as suffering from mood swings and depression, Anthony became obsessed with violent sex and the women he had slept with during his marriage later came forward to say that he would strangle them during sex to the point where they couldn't breath and they had to beg him to stop or fight him off.

Anthony's mood swings and depression got worse when he lost his job due to the economic downturn. His abuse toward his wife and children would often turn physical. After numerous arguments, Judith persuaded him to see a Doctor and he was prescribed some antidepressants. With his mood swings and extreme highs and lows, Anthony at that time should have been diagnosed as bipolar but it was the mid 70s and it was a time when not much was really known about mental health.

Despite this slump, a surprising opportunity came Anthony's way when he was offered an Engineering job in Tasmania in Australia. It was an amazing opportunity and meant that the family would have to emigrate but they were very excited about it and Anthony seemed to have a new lease of life and things seemed to be working out again. He was in a better mood and Judith and the children were glad that they didn't have to walk on eggshells around him.

When Anthony was in a good mood he could be a really nice and fun person to be around but when he was angry, he was terrifying.

Once the family had settled in Australia and Anthony was enjoying his new job, things were going great. Despite all the positive things in his life, Anthony began to crave violent sex again and particularly enjoyed violent sex with prostitutes. He began his secret visits to sex workers and saunas behind Judith's back.

Problems struck again when Anthony lost his job due to cuts and his depression and mood swings returned. It seemed that the violent sex with prostitutes wasn't doing anything to help curb his frustration. He began behaving violently again towards his wife and children and decided that he wanted to kill Judith.

He spent weeks thinking about how he was going to murder his wife and put a plan into place. He filled up a bottle of water and put it in the freezer. He planned to use the frozen water bottle to hit Judith over the head and then he would wipe off any blood and leave it to defrost. He thought this was a clever idea and the police wouldn't be able to find a murder weapon and he would get away with it.

Anthony thought he was more clever than the police and could outsmart anyone. Once he had filled up the bath tub with water and had his frozen bottle of water, he approached Judith as she lay in bed sleeping. He hit her over the head and dragged her to the bathroom, trying to force her into the tub. With all the commotion, one of the children came running into the bathroom screaming at the sight of their father trying to drown their mother. Judith regained some strength and tried to fight back.

It is unknown who called the police but Anthony was arrested and he didn't put up a fuss, he held his hands up and admitted that he wanted to kill his wife. Back at the police station, Anthony would put on the performance which would see him wriggle his way out of situations. He would claim that he had psychological issues and that he really needed to be in a psychiatric hospital not a prison. Due to his intelligence and way with words he managed to wrap the police around his finger and it was decided that he would be sent to a psychiatric unit in Queensland.

The police at that time viewed Anthony's attempted murder of Judith as a ''Domestic Incident''. This was a time where domestic abuse wasn't taken seriously and authorities would often take the view point of what goes on between a husband and wife is their business and it should remain behind closed doors. They didn't deal with him as harshly as they should have.

Judith and the children wasted no time in returning to the UK, they never wanted to see Anthony again and wanted to start a new life without him and not in constant fear.

In the psychiatric unit, Anthony was the model patient who was polite with the nurses and took his medication when asked. He knew if he played by the rules the quicker he would be allowed to leave.

Sure enough, due to his good behaviour and cooperation with the staff, he was released and deemed to be not a threat to the public.

It wasn't long till Anthony discovered that his wife and children had packed up their things and returned to England. He decided that he was going to return to the UK himself and find out where they were.

Continued in part two...

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Check out some of the true crime cases I have covered previously:

Targeted: The Kriss Donald Story

Toxic Relationship: The Tracie Andrews Story

Stalked To Death: The Alissa Blanton Story

Rod Ferrell And The Kentucky Vampire Cult

What Happened To Dominique Dunne?

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  1. If he was bipolar or even had other mental disorders, you have to wonder what signs had there had been, though during that time it would have been ignored or a lot of family even believe they could pray the evil away so I get that there would have been nothing done about it but I just wonder if they were seen or ignored.

    Those poor kids having to watch their mother go through that by their father's hand.

    I think the sad part about it is that he probably was a good idea for him to get some help for his issues, but it seems like he didn't actually want the help, and use that to get out of jail. He still should have gotten some punishment beyond being sent to a psychiatric unit. It's sad that the attempted murder wasn't taken seriously but also not surprising. I'm glad that Judith and the children got away from him, but sadden that Anthony followed.

    1. I don't know how he managed to find them, makes me think that Judith must have gone to stay with a relative or back to somewhere they had previously lived. The whole thing must have been so traumatic for her and the children at the time and also when they found out what he had done later x