N-Dubz and the Camden Ripper

ONE of the most stomach-churning stories I’ve covered on the Camden New Journal (it’s actually one of the most stomach-churning stories in the history of Camden, full stop) were the murders of Anthony Hardy, a serial killer who earned himself the nickname ‘the Camden Ripper’. In his Camden Town council flat, he murdered three women who worked as prostitutes and then mutilated their bodies. Their remains were found in dustbin bags.

So what’s that got to do with happy Dappy, him there on the left, from Camden’s unfeasibly successful hip-hoppers N-Dubz. Well, the Daily Star (I know, I know, we are talking about the Daily Star)reports that he ‘discovered’ the body parts back in 2003.

The question is: Is this strictly true? The story at the time was always that ‘a homeless man in a cowboy hat’ looking for scraps of food made the grim find and then raised the alarm at a nearby hospital. Said man with hat even appeared on a Channel 4 documentary, The Hunt For The Camden Ripper, recalling the moment when he found a woman’s severed legs. I must have written 30 stories on the case, not once did anybody tell me that all of that was untrue, and that Dappy, the rapper from the next estate had actually made the ‘discovery’.

Now, to be fair to the N-Dubz-ster, he never actually said himself that he had found the remains first. He said he just saw them wrapped in a bag, like a lot of people passing the back of the College Place Estate did. The source of the Daily Star‘s story is the band’s autobiography (autobiographies, eh, why wait to the end of your career?) in which Dappy says violent episodes like this hardened him as he grew up. It’s not an interview – just a reporter copying stuff out of a new book. Thirteen years old at the time of Hardy’s killings, Dappy recalled:

I’ve seen some truly horrible, gruelling things and those things have changed me as a person.They’ve made me blunt to some things. I mean – I saw legs in a bin bag. Smelled them and seen the blue skin where the bag was torn. That was at the end of my block of flats. That kind of thing makes an impression on you.

Dappy has a point (there I’ve said it!). What kind of impression does having a case as horrific as Hardy’s occur on your doorstep leave imprinted on the adolescent mind. But at the same time, what can you do? You can’t steer a 13 year-old away from newspaper headlines and a case like this can not and should not not be left unreported. There has to be some analysis of how a man gets to a stage where he commits such dreadful crimes and whether in Hardy’s case the mental health authorities and police could have acted sooner. There was a hatful of lessons that needed – may still need to be – learned from Hardy’s movements and treatment in the months and years leading up to his murders.

If you were 13 and it was happening at the end of your road, it would stick in your head and when you came to write your autobiography, what, six, seven years later, it might just be something you would want to talk about.

The true crime writers and the historians at Scotland Yard’s Black Museum, however, shouldn’t revise the precise narrative of Camden’s most shocking murders just yet. Until proven otherwise, it was a man in a cowboy hat whose unwitting search through black bin bags which triggered that disturbing sequence of events back in December 2002.

4 Comments on N-Dubz and the Camden Ripper

  1. hi my name is caitlin weaver and i love dappy n-dubz is so gd i love it so much xx from caitlin

  2. sharlotte // May 18, 2010 at 9:28 am //

    omgggg like totally….i like u totally lov yaa.. ur like totally awsomee …i like totally lov yaa…like totally….i lyk totally wud wana hav babys wid u fazer lyk totally…and weel totally make golden baby like totally….from sharlotte aka totally..
    wana lik u up and dwn till u say stop leme play wid your body baby make you feel HOT, let me do all the things u want me to do coz tonite baby i wanna freaky wid u ooooooooooo XOXO
    HOLA BAK ILL B W8INNN

  3. silly girls this is not anout ndubz or dappy its about one of the most disturbing murder cases in the whole of the uk stupid people did you ever think about that

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