Camden Ripper was my best friend

TRIPLE murderer Anthony Hardy became obsessed with infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper, his former best friend has revealed.Hardy, dubbed the Camden Ripper, is serving three life sentences for the murders of prostitutes Sally White, Elizabeth Valad and Brigette MacClennan.

TRIPLE murderer Anthony Hardy became obsessed with infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper, his former best friend has revealed.

Hardy, dubbed the Camden Ripper, is serving three life sentences for the murders of prostitutes Sally White, Elizabeth Valad and Brigette MacClennan.

Two of his victims' body parts were discovered in a dustbin close to Hardy's home in Camden, north London.

Maureen Reeve was Hardy's best friend when he lived in Suffolk. She described him as an intelligent and jolly man but admitted he was obsessed with notorious killers Jack the Ripper and wife killer Dr Crippen.

Mrs Reeve, 55, said she was best friends with Hardy for nine years in the 1980s and he would often stay at her home in Thetford.

She said: "Anthony was obsessed with serial killers and we talked about them on several occasions. We had long discussions about Jack the Ripper and Anthony thought he had a brilliant mind. He reckoned Jack the Ripper was a very clever bloke because he murdered all those prostitutes and never got caught.

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"I never thought anything of it – if I had, I would have done something about it."

Mrs Reeve said she was shocked when she heard Hardy was charged with the brutal murders before he pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

She said the whole case had left her with many unanswered questions.

"I can't understand how such a brilliant mind could do this. What surprised me was that I can't understand why he never frightened me or hurt me or went to hit me," she said.

"I have seen him in dark moods but the only anger he ever showed me was when he raised his voice."

The sex-obsessed killer spent time in a psychiatric ward in Queensland, Australia, in 1982 following allegations that he seriously assaulted his wife Judith, who still lives in Bury St Edmunds.

National newspapers reported the family emigrated to Tasmania in 1981 but the marriage was already in crisis with Hardy boasting to his wife about his infidelities.

A year later, Hardy tried to kill his wife when he hit her on the head with a frozen water bottle before trying to drown her in the bath.

It is believed she was only saved when one of their four children came in.

The couple divorced in 1986 and Hardy, by then a homeless alcoholic, began to stalk his ex-wife at her Bury home and is even said to have bugged it with microphones.

Mrs Hardy took out a restraining order, which Hardy broke, resulting in a prison sentence. His former wife and their son spoke of their relief after Hardy was sentenced.

Mrs Reeve said his release from a mental health unit was a deliberate ploy by a calculating man.

She revealed: "He was also obsessed with psychiatrists and he often said he could beat them all. "

The pair met through mutual friends and were close for nine years until the end of the 1980s, but Mrs Reeve said it was only a platonic relationship.

She said Hardy would often have fluctuating moods and not speak to anyone for hours.

She said: "He did get depressed sometimes and he would often go off and stay with friends in Bury or London or at the coast.

"He would turn up out of the blue but that was our friendship. He used to call me his social worker – we had a special relationship."

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