Anthony John Hardy (born 31 May 1951) is an English serial killer who was convicted of murdering three women in London at the beginning of the 21st century.
Born in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, Anthony Hardy had an apparently uneventful childhood and excelled in school and college, particularly in engineering.
He married and fathered three sons and one daughter, but his wife divorced him in 1986, accusing him of domestic violence. In 1982 Hardy had been arrested for trying to drown his wife, but the charges were later dropped.
After the divorce, Hardy spent time in mental hospitals, diagnosed with bipolar disorder.He lived in various hostels in London, picking up convictions for theft and being drunk and disorderly. He was arrested in 1998 when a prostitute accused him of raping her, but the charges were dropped due to lack o fevidence.
In January 2002 police were called to the block of flats where Hardy lived after a neighbour complained that someone had vandalised her front door and that she strongly suspected Hardy. When the police investigated Hardy's flat they found a locked door and, despite his claims to the contrary, police found that Hardy had a key. In the room the police found the naked dead body of a woman lying on a bed with cuts and bruises to her head. She was identified as Sally White, 38, a prostitute living in London.
Forensic pathologist Dr Freddy Patel subsequently concluded that White had died of a heart attack, in spite of the circumstances. Patel later came under scrutiny for this and other findings in his career, including the 2009 death of Ian Tomlinson, resulting in a suspension from the government's register of pathologists pending an inquiry.
Hardy spent a short time in jail for the vandalism offence.
On December 30, 2002 a homeless man hunting for food in bins found some of the dismembered remains of two women found stuffed in bin-liners. The victims were identified as Bridgette MacClennan, 34, and Elizabeth Valad, 29.
The investigation led to Hardy, who was arrested a week later. He had gone on the run, but was spotted by an off-duty policemen when he went to a hospital to collect his prescription for insulin. A search of his flat found that there was evidence, including old blood stains, that indicated the two women had been killed and dismembered there. Both had died over the Christmas holidays.
Under arrest, Hardy simply said "no comment" to every question put to him by police. He was eventually charged with the murders of both MacClennan and Valad, and Sally White, the woman whose death had originally been put down to natural causes.
At his trial in November 2003 Hardy, despite his initial lack of cooperation with the police, abruptly changed his plea to guilty to all three counts of murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Because of Hardy's history of psychiatric problems and violent behaviour, an independent enquiry was announced into his care.
Police have been reported to believe that Hardy was likely to be connected to the unsolved cases of two prostitutes found dismembered and dumped in the Thames, and up to five or six other area murders that bore marked similarities to the ones for which he was convicted, but there is not enough evidence available directly implicating him in the murders for further action.
In May 2010, a High Court judge decided that Hardy should never be released from prison, placing him on the list of Whole life tariff prisoners.
Mr Justice Keith, sitting in London, said: "This is one of those exceptionally rare cases in which life should mean life."