Murder Mile UK True-Crime Podcast #116: The Four Faces of The Camden Ripper - Part One "Tony the Alcoholic"
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Welcome to the Murder Mile UK True-Crime Podcast and audio guided walk of London's most infamous and often forgotten murder cases, set within and beyond the West End.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN
This is Part One of a four-part series into The Camden Ripper. The truth about may never be known, as it’s hard to understand who he is, as he appeared to be a different person to different people at different times. By viewing this story from his perspective, it is clear that there were four distinct sides to the personality of Anthony Hardy; the alcoholic, the addict, the sadist and the maniac. These are the Four Faces of The Camden Ripper. Part One – Tony the Alcoholic.
As many photos of the case are copyright protected by greedy news organisations, to view them, take a peek at my entirely legal social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
The location of The Manna Society at 12 Melior Street in Bermondsey where Sally Rose White was last seen alive is on the far right and is marked with a red triangle. To use the map, click it. If you want to see the other murder maps, such as Soho, King's Cross, etc, access them by clicking here.
Here's two additional videos to go with the series; to the left is St Pancras Coroner's Court where the coroner's trial of Sally Rose White took place and to the right is the former homeless hostel in Argyll Square where Anthony Hardy had his first recorded psychotic episode.
I've also posted some photos to aid your "enjoyment" of the episode. These photos were taken by myself (copyright Murder Mile) or granted under Government License 3.0, where applicable.
SOURCES: The main source was the Independent Review into the treatment and care of Anthony Hardy by Camden Council, which also includes detail about the murder investigation, as seen in this PDF. http://nomsintranet.org.uk/roh/official-documents/IndependentReview_AnthonyHardy.pdf
UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT OF THE EPISODE:
(Tony) “Hello. My name is Tony and I am an alcoholic” (appreciative voices and a very light applause).
On Tuesday 25th November 2003, at The Old Bailey, 52-year-old Anthony John Hardy pleaded guilty to the brutal murders of Sally Rose White, Elizabeth Selina Valad and Bridgette Cathy MacLennan; three sex-workers whose only connection was the money they needed for the drugs which they used.
The barbaric nature of their deaths, the disposal of their bodies and the sadistic callousness with which he abused their corpses shocked a nation to its very core, and (in an instant) this anonymous nobody gained infamy, being dubbed The Camden Ripper. But as fast as he became famous, he was forgotten.
It seems strange that so little is written about him, but then again very little is known, as although he craved the cruel limelight which his infamous hero once courted, he could be as cheery and chatty as any civilised member of society one minute, and a blank expressionless wall of nothingness the next, giving nothing to the Police “no comment”, the lawyers “no comment” or psychiatrists “no comment”.
The truth about The Camden Ripper may never be known, as the details are vague, the timings may be sketchy and even the most solid pieces of evidence only led to best guesses by experts. So, it’s hard to understand who he is, as he appeared to be a different person to different people at different times.
Was he a killer? Was he a victim? Was he mentally ill? Or was he a manipulator? There are very few answers, only questions. But by viewing this story from his perspective, it is clear that there were four distinct sides to the personality of Anthony Hardy; the alcoholic, the addict, the sadist and the maniac.
These are the Four Faces of The Camden Ripper. Part One – Tony the Alcoholic.
(Tony) “Over the last decade or so, I’ve been prone to binge-drinking - cider, wine, vodka, you name it - although I wouldn’t really call myself an addict. It’s a crutch I use for when I’m low. That night, I’d drunk till I could drink no more. I’d filled the fridge beforehand to make sure it was properly stocked, but I don’t know how much I drank. I blacked out. All I remember after that is being in a police cell”.
(Hubbub) Saturday 19th January 2002. The date is correct, the time is unspecified but it’s definitely late and Anthony Hardy (known as Tony) is standing in the borough of Camden, near King’s Cross station; a ceaseless cess-pool of sin bathed in the sickening neon glow of takeaways, taxi ranks, arcades, bars, B&B’s and the dull red glow of sleazy brothels. It’s a transient place where the sensible get out as quick as they get in, but the desperate get stuck, as the lost are lured by the promise of sex, drugs and drink.
To some it’s terrifying, but for Tony, each and every street has been his home for the last twelve years, whether under a roof, a doorway or a cardboard box. But now he’s doing okay, not great, just okay.
Standing an impressive six-foot and one inch tall and nineteen stone, although larger than most, he is often mistaken for being bigger than he actually is owing to his bold persona, his big bushy grey beard and the mass of thick dark layers which he wears to keep out the incessant drizzle and biting winter wind. Dressed from head-to-toe in black, from his NY baseball cap to his shin-length coat, the only flashes of colour are his white smile, his gaudy Hawaiian shirt and a set of amusing cartoon socks.
And although he stands out, he also blends in, as formerly being a man of no-fixed-abode, he’s used to being a nobody to the average person, who only ever converses with the Police and social services.
Far from being the man he used to be – educated, married, skilled and employed - over the last two years he’s tried to turn his life around, even going so far as to get his own council flat just a few roads away, but every day has been a daily struggle and being only six days out of detox, he’s relapsed again.
He isn’t staggering or slurring as being intoxicated is his normal, so clutching a bag of booze and being single, like most nights, he’s in the seedy recesses of King’s Cross looking for sex. He knows all of the street girls, but he doesn’t have a type and their names to him mean nothing. Just like his drink, an alcoholic doesn’t care what species of apple is pressed to make his cider, as long as it gives him his fix.
Tony’s story is a tragically familiar one for many of the lost souls living on the London’s streets. And that night, like any other, he’d be unable to think of anything else... but the fuelling of his addictions.
Summer 1989. Just shy of forty, a thinner less-grey Tony drove a slightly battered Ford Sierra through the back streets of the city. Just out of a Norwich prison on his second stint for reckless driving, criminal damage and drunk and disorderly, although disqualified, he used Illegal mini-cabbing to pay his way.
Over the last decade, the life of this husband, father-of-four and middle-class engineer had collapsed. Being little more than a washed-up ex-con who lived alone in a cheap squalid bedsit, being divorced, depressed and separated from his teenage kids, he drank heavily and lost what little he still had.
His first twenty-five years started well enough, but growing increasingly restless, agitated and angry, Tony was hospitalised for ten days in April 1982 at The Park Centre, a psychiatric facility in Brisbane, where he was diagnosed with depression marked by violent outbursts and exacerbated by drinking.
From that day onwards, Tony became a familiar face in London’s detox clinics, help groups, homeless hostels and psychiatric wards, where he was diagnosed with manic depression, a debilitating condition for which he was prescribed Lithium (the first of seven drugs he would take) but he also self-medicated with alcoholic binges and cannabis. Drinking up-to six litres of Frosty Jacks cider a day, being a big man, sometimes the booze just dulled the edges of his anxiety, and other times he drank till he blacked out.
In 1992, given his size and alcohol intake, Tony was diagnosed with diabetes; his mobility worsened, his weight increased and it drastically lessened his sexual function, but not his libido. That same year, his younger brother Barry took his own life and Tony hit rock bottom. He was always an angry quick-tempered man, but now he had become more frustrated, isolated and paranoid, and his life got worse.
Evicted from a series of hostels for assaults on its residents and staff, and having been booted out of the Arlington House hostel by a court of law, Tony found a bed at the Ferndale Hotel, a homeless refuge at 41 Argyle Square in King’s Cross. But by then, his mental health had severely deteriorated.
On 30th April 1995, gripped by the delusion that he was a wanted killer and seeing a Police van parked up outside his window, Tony dived into the back and insisted on being arrested for his crimes; he was rambling, sweating and distressed. Seen by the duty psychiatrist at University College Hospital, he said he was hearing voices, and a urine test concluded he was in the midst of a drug-induced psychosis.
It was a major psychotic episode, but his mental collapse would get him the help that he badly needed.
From 2nd to 5th May 1995, Tony was a voluntary in-patient at the Huntley Centre at St Pancras Hospital, where he was assessed, diagnosed, medicated and assigned a care-worker from the Focus Team, who helped him register with a GP, find support groups and assisted with temporary accommodation, so his life could return to some kind of normality. But the next four years would be even tougher.
Evicted from the Ferndale Hotel, on 30th August 1995 Tony took an overdose and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. On 3rd October, being arrested for public indecency, Tony was sectioned again and re-admitted to the Huntley Centre, this time for three months, spent on the Mornington Unit. During his hospitalisation, he was arrested twice for drunkenness and criminal damage to the ward.
During Tony’s stay, a psychiatrist with the North London Forensic Service wrote two reports about his alcohol abuse, stating “Tony uses alcohol when feeling depressed and to cope with life’s stresses. It does not always indicate early signs of a manic episode”. Only Tony had many outlets for his anger; one was alcohol, one was cannabis and the other was sex, having used pornography and prostitutes since the mid-1970’s and many girls of whom he knew from his time as a cabbie in King’s Cross.
Diagnosed as Bipolar in January 1996, Tony was given a long-term bed at Argyle Walk, a hostel for the homeless with mental health needs where he stayed until May 1997, when the Focus Team secured him a supported living space at 34 King’s Terrace. Unlike a hostel, King’s Terrace was a self-contained flat which offered him better support but greater independence, and having stability, he flourished.
His care-worker stated “there have been no episodes of psychosis or hospitalisation; his mood has remained fairly constant, if somewhat subdued; he’s doing his own shopping, cooking and is keeping himself active to minimise isolation. Mr Hardy’s stability at Argyle Walk cannot be overstated”.
But his alcoholism and mental health would always be a struggle, and still feeling that his life lacked independence, on 10th May 1998 he was arrested for assault, sectioned and on 6th August that same year, he was sectioned again and hospitalised in the Cardigan Ward at St Luke’s Psychiatric Hospital.
It was a blip in his recovery, but with a renewed focus to get a home of his own, across the next year he fought to turn his life around. On 3rd June 1999, Camden Council offered him a flat and on 20th January 2000, Tony Hardy became the legal tenant of 4 Hartland on Royal College Street in Camden.
To Anthony Hardy this was his home... but to his three victims, it would become a house of horrors.
Hartland was a brown-brick and white-walled four-storey council block on the College Place Estate, bordered by College Place, Plender Street and a short walk from the canal and King’s Cross. Cheaply constructed in pre-assembled concrete shells and connected by several stairwells, they’re simple, affordable and to the left of the ground-floor stairwell, behind a black front door sat flat number four.
Kept in an orderly state of disarray, it was neither filthy nor stylish, as everything was basic, practical and had its place. Upfront was a multi-coloured living-room dominated by a blue sofa, three tellies, a pile of true-crime books, a coffee table with a neat stack of VHS tapes, and (a few feet behind) sat his double bed. He had a small grubby kitchen, a grimy little bathroom and a spare-room filled with some furniture should he have a friend over to stay, as well as his photographic equipment and his junk.
Decorated using a misjudged mix of garish paints and marker pens, almost every wall, ceiling and door was covered in an ad-hoc array of indecipherable art by Tony, but they weren’t the intricate designs of a skilled engineer, but the doodles of a child-like mind. As if to keep his bad thoughts at bay, the walls were a brightly coloured mural of love, happiness and spirituality, consisting of everything from fishes, pets, faces, names, seas and stars to Celtic crosses. It was like a daily reminder to be happy.
On 7th August 2001, a full assessment was undertaken and although alcohol was his main risk, he had joined an art class, a support group, he had cut his drinking down to two pints a day, he had maintained a ten-year relationship with his good friend Maureen Reeves who he would regularly meet for a cup of tea (as she listened to his fascinating theories about infamous serial-killer Jack the Ripper) and by September, his care-worker had stated that he was “being effectively managed in the community”.
Within his bubble he was blossoming, but out on the estate he was struggling. Seen as a bit of a weirdo, who dressed in black, spoke to no-one, muttered to himself and only socialised with sex-workers, after a decade living on the streets, he was unused to dealing with the simple everyday problems of life.
In November 2001, with his neighbour’s bath in the upstairs flat leaking into his, unable to even discuss it with her; he got anxious, depressed and proceeded to binge-drink, and although he couldn’t recall his actions owing to an alcoholic blackout, he bent her car’s windscreen wipers and slashed her tyres.
The problem was finally resolved and the leak was fixed, but for the weeks afterwards, he seethed.
On 7th January 2002, Tony voluntarily entered Rugby House, an alcohol detox clinic in Bermondsey by London Bridge station, but unable to quit his main addiction, he discharged himself just six days later.
(Hubbub) By Saturday 19th January, just shy of midnight, he was standing in King’s Cross. (Tony) “That night, I’d drunk till I could drink no more. I’d filled the fridge beforehand, but I don’t know how much I drank. I blacked out. All I remember after that is being in a police cell”. With a bag of booze in his hand and his flat a few streets away, focussed only on fuelling his addictions, Tony needed sex...
...and the girl he chose was Sally.
Born on 23rd September 1963, Sally Rose White was the youngest daughter of Arthur & Muriel, a loving couple who strived to give her all the support she needed, having been born with brain damage. Educated at a special needs school, although a struggle, Sally had an idyllic upbringing, being raised by The Quay in the coastal town of Poole in Dorset, where she thrived and got a job as a shop assistant.
But as she entered her twenties, being little more than a child in an adult’s body whose independence was limited to protect her, she became aggressive, repeatedly ran away from home and slept rough.
In 1991, aged 28, Sally gave birth to a daughter called Louise, but unable to care for her baby, she was given up for adoption. Relenting to her request to live her life as she wanted, Sally moved to London, as her worried parents supported from a distance, but having refused their help, she began to struggle.
She lost her job, her flat and becoming homeless, she funded her crack addiction with sex-work. As a sweet, naïve and easily-led girl, she had no idea how vulnerable she was, being just an innocent little fish who swam in a dark turbulent sea of hungry sharks. In her final months, her father often scoured the many homeless hostels of London seeking to bring his baby home, but Sally always refused.
On the cold wet morning of Saturday 19th January 2002 - being a little dot with a sweet smile, twinkly brown eyes and jet-black hair, wearing blue jeans, a blue jacket and a grey hoodie - 38-year-old Sally was last seen at the Manna Society on Melior Street in Bermondsey; a charity by London Bridge station which provides food, beds and support for the city’s most vulnerable. Like so many, Sally was familiar face... as was Tony, who just six days earlier had discharged himself from detox, just one street away.
Whether he knew her from the hostels, whether they had first met that day, or whether he had picked her up in King’s Cross (as one of hundreds of sex-workers he had procured across his life) is unknown. All we know is that they were both vulnerable, needy and desperate. For both, this seemed like a win-win situation, as she was sweet and petite, and he was charming and fatherly. So, just shy of midnight and clutching a bag of booze, they both walked back to his warm cosy flat to feed their addictions.
It was an ordinary night, as inside the brightly-coloured living-room at 4 Hartland, Sally sat alongside Tony on his blue sofa; where they supped cheap wine, chatted about true-crime, got warm, ate and had a bit of a giggle. Later, as his diabetes made sex a little unpredictable, Tony popped a porno in his VHS player and when that familiar feeling stirred in his loins, he led Sally to bed. Not his bed behind the sofa, as this was his private space and he hated messing-up his neat blue bedsheets, his stack of medications and his space invaders t-shirt drying on the radiator, so instead they used the spare room.
Having folded her jacket and jeans neatly on the floor, dressed in a bra, pants and hoodie, Sally lay on the bed. Baring down on top of this small nine-stone girl was the towering naked bulk of a nineteen stone man; with six litres of cider inside him, a temperamental erection and a thirst for rough-sex.
At 4am, a neighbour later stated that they had heard a scream, but that could have been anything.
(Tony) “That night, I’d drunk till I could drink no more. I don’t know how much I drank. I blacked out”. (DCI) “So, what happened next Tony, what happened?” (Tony pauses) “No comment”.
The next morning, although the little issue of his neighbour’s leaky bath had been resolved back in December, Tony was still fuming. Having previously snapped her wipers, slashed her tyres and sent her an abusive letter after she had found him rummaging through her bins - none of which he could recall – being openly hostile and unable to confront her, as she slept, he vandalised her front door.
At 6:40am on Sunday 20th January 2002, alerted by the neighbour, Sergeant Nick Spinks arrived at her first-floor flat at 10 Hartland. The damage was obvious. With a plastic cider bottle, a litre of sulphuric acid from an abandoned car battery had been poured through her letterbox, across the white door in black paint was sprayed the words “fuck you slut, you’re a cunt” and – as if there was no denying who had done this cowardly petulant deed - the culprit had signed it with the letter ‘T’ and as the bubbling acid pooled at the base of the door, the prints from his size eleven trainers led from her door to his.
Tony was not happy to see the officers, and although he smelled of drink, not being intoxicated, he fully admitted to the charge of criminal damage and asked to be escorted to the Police station. Finding his enthusiasm to be detained elsewhere a little suspicious, with Tony’s consent they searched his flat.
Directed by him, they found the cider bottle, the funnel and the can of black spray-paint. Every room was checked except for the spare-room, which Tony stated “was sublet to a lady, I don’t have the key”. So, with him being calm and fully compliant, he was arrested for the minor offence of criminal damage.
Before being led outside into the freezing cold morning, sensibly Tony asked if he could pop on a coat, they agreed, and removing the anorak which hung on the back of his door, the officer searched it first.
In the lining he found a key. The key fitted the locked door. And suddenly, Tony began to sweat.
With the window locked from the inside, the Police knew that no-one had entered or exited that room since they had arrived. To the side of the wardrobe, a set of folded clothes had been stashed, on the floor lay a grey hoodie and tossed onto the red rug, a pair of bra and pants had been cut into pieces.
The room was messy and cluttered but no more than the rest of the flat, and nothing looked damaged or broken. Above the pillow, a circle of blood marked the point where a head had impacted with the white wall and leading down to the bed, a dark-haired lady silently lay. Being naked and spread-eagle, with her legs splayed wide, she was still warm to the touch, and although a blue towel masked her face; with her skin pale, her cheeks mottled and her lips a blueish hue, it was clear that Sally was dead.
Inside her grey hoodie, a red sticky mess matched the mass of matted hair on her head’s bloody crown, and besides a few small bruises, her only other injury was a bitemark to the inside of her right thigh, which matched Tony’s teeth. By the bed, he had placed a bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge, as being disturbed by the Police, perhaps out of panic, Tony had tried to cover-up this accident?
Trembling and pale, Tony was arrested for criminal damage, suspicion of murder and taken to Kentish Town police station. As was his right, he replied “no comment” to every question, had no recollection of the incident and he made the officers aware of his alcoholism, diabetes and mental health issues.
That night, Arthur & Muriel White were notified that their daughter Sally had died.
For the detectives, it seemed like a pretty solid case of murder or manslaughter with Tony as the only suspect. He had concealed the body, lied about the key, attempted a clean-up and the only DNA or fingerprints (other than hers) found at the scene was his. He had a history of alcoholism, psychosis, delusions and violence, and all of his neighbours described him as a ‘nutter’, a ‘weirdo’ and a ‘loner’.
On 22nd January 2002, while on remand pending his trial for murder, Tony was found guilty of criminal damage and assessed by the Psychiatric Diversion Team at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court. Being described as “downcast, depressed and on the verge of tears”, they confirmed he was fit to stand trial but stated “Mr Hardy currently presents in a fragile state, he’s still suffering from alcohol withdrawal with depressive and suicidal thoughts consequent to the situation in which he finds himself in”.
Transferred to Pentonville Prison and put on suicide watch, on 12th March 2002, in the interest of his wellbeing and safety, Tony was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and re-admitted to the Mornington Psychiatric Unit at the Huntley Centre, where he couldn’t be a danger to himself or others.
But for the Police, having completed a thorough investigation, this murder case was a done-deal. (End)
Or at least, it should have been.
On 15th April 2002 at St Pancras Coroner’s Court, held before the Coroner Dr Stephen Chan, the Home Office pathologist Dr Freddy Patel gave his findings. The autopsy had found no evidence of poisoning or assault. The bite-mark, bruising and abrasions to her skin were not regarded as “marks of violence”. And although her head wound was consistent with a single blunt impact with broad hard surface like a wall, having possibly occurred owing to a stumble or collapse, the wound had not caused her death.
Born with a defective heart, Dr Patel stated that her “cardiovascular system showed a severe coronary atheroma with a 40-60% occlusion in proximal anterior branch”. In short, she had died of heart failure during rough sex. Listed as “death by natural causes”, the coroner concluded that “the Police have conducted an investigation and although it is obvious that Mr Hardy is in need of psychiatric treatment, there is no evidence to suggest that he was responsible for the death of Sally Rose White”.
The trial took less than fifteen minutes, the Police were not asked to give evidence, and although they took the very rare step of requesting a second autopsy be conducted, Dr Freddy Patel returned with the same conclusion – “heart failure”. The murder case collapsed, the charges were dropped and although he had been committed to a psychiatric unit, Anthony John Hardy was cleared of murder.
As stated, the truth about The Camden Ripper may never be known, as the details are vague, some evidence only led to the best guesses of experts, and it’s hard to understand who he is, as he appeared to be a different person to different people at different times. There were very few answers, only questions. But by viewing this story from his perspective, it was clear that there were four distinct sides to the personality of Anthony Hardy; the alcoholic, the addict, the sadist and the maniac.
(Tony) “Hello. My name is Tony and I am an alcoholic” (appreciative voices and a very light applause).
OUTRO: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for listening to Murder Mile.
Part two of this four-part series into The Camden Ripper continues next week. But if you’d like to know more about this case, stay tuned for some extra tit-bits, as well as a quiz, a biccie and cuppa with me.
Before that, a big thank you to my new Patreon supporter who is Kate Wakefield, I thank you very much, and a thank you to Simon Monks and Mel for your very kind donations via the Supporter link in the show-notes. Shares in McVities and Mr Kipling have gone through the roof as I plunder the shelves and stock up for Christmas. Not that they’ll last till Christmas.
Murder Mile was researched, written and performed by myself, with the main musical themes written and performed by Erik Stein & Jon Boux of Cult With No Name.
Thank you for listening and sleep well.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER
The Murder Mile UK True Crime Podcast has been researched using the original declassified police investigation files, court records, press reports and as many authentic sources as possible, which are freely available in the public domain, including eye-witness testimony, confessions, autopsy reports, first-hand accounts and independent investigation, where possible. But these documents are only as accurate as those recounting them and recording them, and are always incomplete or full of opinion rather than fact, therefore mistakes and misrepresentations can be made. As stated at the beginning of each episode (and as is clear by the way it is presented) Murder Mile UK True Crime Podcast is a 'dramatisation' of the events and not a documentary, therefore a certain amount of dramatic licence, selective characterisation and story-telling (within logical reason and based on extensive research) has been taken to create a fuller picture. It is not a full and complete representation of the case, the people or the investigation, and therefore should not be taken as such. It is also often (for the sake of clarity, speed and the drama) presented from a single person's perspective, usually (but not exclusively) the victim's, and therefore it will contain a certain level of bias and opinion to get across this single perspective, which may not be the overall opinion of those involved or associated. Murder Mile is just one possible retelling of each case. Murder Mile does not set out to cause any harm or distress to those involved, and those who listen to the podcast or read the transcripts provided should be aware that by accessing anything created by Murder Mile (or any source related to any each) that they may discover some details about a person, an incident or the police investigation itself, that they were unaware of.
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten curious, quirky, unusual and different things to do in London”, nominated "one of the best true-crime podcasts at the British Podcast Awards", one of The Telegraph's top five true-crime podcasts and featuring 12 murderers, including 3 serial killers, across 15 locations, totaling 50 deaths, over just a one mile walk.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster of Murder Mile UK True Crime and creator of true-crime TV series.
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