The Camden Ripper | Anthony John Hardy: Part Four

(Elizabeth Valad and Bridgette MacClennan above. Anthony John Hardy and his flat below) 

In my final post in The Camden Ripper case, please be aware as with parts onetwo and three that the following includes some graphic and disturbing details.

The homeless man was doing his usual routine of looking through the bins for any bits of left over food and on this occasion he was looking in the bins outside of Anthony's council block.

As he lifted up the heavy lid of the bin, the smell of rotten food was overpowering but he spotted what looked like meat wrapped up in black bin liners. He took the objects out and began to unwrap them. To his horror and disgust he was holding two severed female legs in his hands. The police were contacted immediately and the whole area was cordoned off and searched. More female remains were found in various bins around the area and the police knew whose door to knock on first.

When the police arrived at Anthony's flat he was nowhere to be seen but they found a bin bag containing a woman's torso, a hacksaw and an electric power saw, both of which contained pieces of human flesh still attached. There was also pools of blood on the floor.

The neighbours had mentioned to the police as they did their door to door enquiries that they would often hear drilling noises coming from Anthony's flat at all hours of the day and night. 

The hunt was on to find Anthony John Hardy and to identify the human remains found in the bins and the flat. 

The remains identified belonged to two women, Bridgette MacClennan (34) and Elizabeth Valad (29). Their heads and hands were never found. Elizabeth was identified by the serial number that was on her breast implants. 

Bridgette MacClennan was originally from New Zealand and was the mother of two boys. Bridgette was said to have been a heavy cocaine user and would fund her addiction through prostitution. Anthony was one of her regular customers and police believe that she was either murdered and dismembered on the 30th of December 2002 or shortly before due to the condition of the remains. 

Elizabeth Selina Valad was born in Nottingham in 1972 and was described as rebellious from a young age. She came from a respectable family and her father was a professor at a University. When she was younger she lived with her parents in America but moved back to the UK when her parents got divorced. At 16 she seemed to go even further off the rails and her mother described her as being a difficult child who mixed with the wrong crowd. She would steal items out of her mother's house and disappear for days on end. She moved to London and by the age of 18 she was married and had a baby daughter. One day, Elizabeth decided that she was tired of being a mother and a wife and walked out on her family.

She began working in a massage parlour where she met a married, multimillionaire in his 70s. He became a sugar daddy figure for her and she described him as her ''meal ticket''. The man paid for her to live in an expensive apartment in London, bought her designer clothes and a car. This went on for 10 years and even during this period she would continue to work as a prostitute. 

When she did visit her family they were concerned about where all the money was coming from and how she could afford to live such a lavish lifestyle. She told her parents that she was working as a secretary but they didn't believe her so she told them the truth. Despite her parents concerns and pleas to give up this lifestyle, she refused and said that she loved the money too much.

When the relationship ended with the man she claimed to be her ''meal ticket'', she ended up working full time as a sex worker. 

People who knew her said that her life had taken a drastic downturn in the last few months of her life and she became a heavy cocaine user. When she worked in the massage parlour she would charge £30 a time for her services but by then she was so desperate that she would charge less and less just so she could get some drugs. 

Anthony must have thought he'd found another easy, vulnerable victim who he could persuade back to his flat with the promises of money and drugs. 

The police reviewed the CCTV cameras around Anthony's housing block and sure enough, Anthony was seen placing the bin liners containing the victims remains in the bins. At one point Anthony looked up at the camera. He was well aware that CCTV cameras were there and this was another demonstration of his arrogance and his overconfidence at thinking he was going to get away with it again.

Anthony managed to evade arrest for a week after the remains were discovered. He didn't exactly go out of his way to hide from the police as he continued to stay in Camden and freely walked around the streets. His face was splashed all over the newspapers and whilst on the run he shaved his beard in an attempt to alter his appearance. He wore his usual long black coat and a black baseball cap.

He was spotted by an off duty policeman at Great Ormond Street Hospital whilst he was collecting his medication. The policeman contacted his colleagues and they arrived at the hospital swiftly. Anthony knew the game was up but did his best to hide. During a search of the hospital, Anthony was found hiding behind some bins.

As the police tried to arrest him there was a scuffle as Anthony tried to resist arrest. One of the police officers was knocked unconscious and another was stabbed through the hand and his eye socket was dislocated. Despite suffering these painful injuries, the policeman managed to hold onto Anthony until backup arrived and he was arrested at the scene.

At the police station, Anthony replied ''no comment'' to every question put to him by the police. He was charged with the murders of Bridgette MacClennan and Elizabeth Valad.

Among the evidence against Anthony, the police had 44 pornographic pictures that Anthony had taken of Bridgette and Elizabeth. He had sent these pictures to a friend for safe keeping, the friend later turned them over to the police after the victims remains were discovered. One of the pictures depicted Elizabeth lying naked, posed on the bed with a sex toy and she was wearing a devil mask and a baseball hat. The devil mask and baseball hat were still in the flat when the police did their search. Elizabeth and Bridgette's blood was also found in his bathroom as he had dismembered them in his bathtub.

In November of 2003, Anthony John Hardy's trial began and as he knew the evidence was stacked up against him, he changed his plea to guilty and to the surprise of everyone, he claimed to be responsible for not only Bridgette and Elizabeth's death but also to Sally's death too. His confession about Sally's death had put the original conclusion by Dr Freddy Patel into question that she had died from natural causes.

The forensic pathologist Dr Freddy Patel was later suspended from the government's register of pathologists pending an enquiry into not only his findings in this case but in the death of Ian Tomlinson as well as many other cases. In 2012 his name was erased from the medical register by the General Medical Council, meaning that he can no longer practice medicine in the UK.

During the trial it was revealed how each of the women who died at the hands of Anthony John Hardy met their deaths. Anthony lured them to his flat with promises of money and drugs. He then engaged in extreme sex with the women before strangling them. He was described in court as a ''pornography obsessed necrophiliac'' who achieved sexual gratification by posing the nude bodies of his victims after death and taking explicit photos of their naked corpses. As he was disrupted by the police the first time they visited his flat and found Sally, he didn't have the chance to dismember and dispose of her body as he had done with Bridgette and Elizabeth. Police are sure had they not been there, Anthony would have done the same with Sally's remains.

During sentencing, Judge Justice Keith said to Anthony ''Only you know for sure how your victims met their deaths but the unspeakable indignities to which you subjected the bodies of your last two victims in order to satisfy your depraved and perverted needs are in no doubt.''

On the 25th of November 2003, Anthony John Hardy was given three life sentences.

 In May 2010 a High Court judge decided that Anthony should never be released from prison and placed him on the list of life tariff prisoners. Justice Keith said ''This is one of those exceptionally rare cases in which life should mean life.''

The police believe that Anthony John Hardy could be responsible for the deaths of other women in London but they have struggled to find evidence to charge him.

There was a lot of anger towards the authorities for releasing Anthony back onto the streets despite the fact there was damning evidence that he was a danger to women. The Daily Mail newspaper had reported that health supervisors were so scared of him that they refused to go to his council flat, agreeing to meet him only in cafes.

A public enquiry was held into why he was released when he was such a threat to society. There were calls for the panel of the three health managers (who deemed him fit to be released despite concerns by psychiatrists that he was a danger to women) to be fired from their positions. Some people argued that Anthony was a master manipulator and had managed to fool the panel and that the blame rests on him. The fact remains that if he had still been kept in the hospital, Elizabeth and Bridgette may have been alive today.

This was such a disturbing and gruesome case to cover and I started from scratch as I didn't know that much about it. It's unbelievable the amount of red flags that were ignored when it came to Anthony. I also feel very sad about the victims. When I write about the victims of crimes in my posts, I always aim to be truthful and talk about their backgrounds. Going into the backgrounds of these women was very upsetting, they had such hard lives and when I've researched similar cases in the past I can't help but wonder about the families of these women. I'm not placing blame on anyone as adults are free to make their own choices in life but I can't help but wonder what drives a young woman to run away from her family and prefer to live on her own, on the streets and turning to prostitution.

I used to work as a support worker for women who had been through sexual assault and forced into prostitution and I learnt a lot about their backgrounds and why they felt the need to run away. Some were forced into a life of drugs and prostitution because of their boyfriends or even family members. The stories I were told were very harrowing and I do feel sad for these women and men who feel that they have no choice.

It's also scary to think that there are still murders in London that remain unsolved but the police believe that Anthony may have had more victims. I think that's the case too as we have seen time and again that serial killers often have been responsible for more deaths but have only been charged in the cases where evidence has been found. I think Anthony could be responsible for murders in Australia too. We may never know but can take some comfort in knowing that he is locked up and will never be released.

Thank you as always for reading my latest case. It means a lot to me when someone comments on here or twitter about how they've enjoyed my posts or learnt about a case they hadn't heard of before. I always try to leave no stone unturned when I do my research.

RIP Sally Rose White.
RIP Bridgette MacClennan.
RIP Elizabeth Selina Valad.

Further reading & sources:

The History Of The Camden Ripper
Anthony Hardy Wikipedia
Anthony Hardy Murderpedia
Camden Ripper Must never Be Released
The Hunt For The Camden Ripper
Killers: Anthony Hardy

See you in the next post x

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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. I have to wonder about that friend that Anthony had, like did the friend know what the pictures were in the first place or did he only look at them once he found out about the victims remains were discovered? Hopefully not the first one. I am surprised that he plea guilty since he spend so much time trying to stay out of prison. I wonder why Dr Freddy Patel said that Sally had died from natural causes, was it him just being lazy, negligent, or much more. I'm so glad that he will never be out of prison but I have to question Justice Keith when he said rare cases, because there are so many cases where life should mean life.

    I think that is the same case for the US as well, a lot of sex workers are forced into it, and because it is not decriminalized here like a lot of states haven't decriminalized victims of sex trafficking it means when they are caught it doesn't matter who forced them, or who got them addicted to drugs and uses drugs to control them so they feel like they have to do this.

    1. During my the name of the 'friend' who was sent the photographs was never revealed which makes me wonder if it was Maureen? I was shocked that she went to visit him after she knew about the dead woman being found in his flat. You got the feeling that she knew more than she was letting on. Thank you so much for all of these awesome comments, I've enjoyed reading all of them : ) x

  2. Good riddance I knew Bridgette I babysat her younger son and my brother was friends with her oldest Ashley who will be 34 now