Camden Ripper: Soraya’s bid for a public inquiry

Camden New Journal 28 January, 2005

GRIEF-STRICKEN relatives of a woman murdered by Anthony Hardy – dubbed the ‘Camden Ripper’ – have told of new heartache in their campaign for a public inquiry into the murderer’s killing spree.

Jackie Valad, whose daughter Liz was one of Hardy’s three known victims, has failed in a High Court bid to force an open review of the grisly murders.

Mr Justice Bennett ruled at the Royal Courts of Justice on Friday that the government had met its obligations by holding an independent review into the mental healthcare received by Hardy.

As the New Journal exclusively revealed in October, the claim was also made in the name of Liz Valad’s 13-year-old daughter, Soraya.

Jackie Valad said after the hearing: “My solicitors did a lot of work on this and we thought we might have a chance. For me to lose Elizabeth like I did was the most horrific thing but they don’t seem to think it matters.”

In heart-breaking circumstances, her daughter was only identified by codes on her breast implants after her razored body parts were found trussed up in black bin bags and dumped in wheelie bins across the College Place Estate, Camden Town, in December 2002.

The 29-year-old had been murdered in Hardy’s council flat. Her dismembered head has never been found. But, despite her family’s latest setback, Ms Valad’s relatives may still get the chance to quiz medical experts and police who worked on the Hardy case.

The New Journal has learned that unlike in previous murder cases, coroner inquests will be opened up to allow the victims’ relatives the chance to question key witnesses.

In the past, inquests of murder victims have generally not been heard in full once criminal convictions have been obtained.

But new legislation passed in the House of Lords late last year means that, even though Hardy, 54, has been jailed for life, the inquests are now likely to examine the full circumstances surrounding the deaths of his victims.

Legal experts say the inquests will be resumed after the independent inquiry has published its reports. It will leave the presiding coroner with the potentially difficult task of reviewing the death of Sally Rose White, who although was murdered by Hardy was wrongly declared to have died from natural causes at an inquest earlier in 2002. The issue could become a legal test case.
Hardy’s other known victim was vice girl Brigitte MacClennan, murdered in Hardy’s flat on Christmas Day 2002.

Jackie Valad’s legal team are reserving comments on the case until after the inquests have been completed. Neither the inquests nor the ongoing behind-closed-doors independent review by the North London Health Authority, however, are due to take evidence from other women who came into contact with Hardy.

One woman who claims she was attacked by the triple killer interrupted Friday’s court proceedings with a weepy outburst.

Tina Harvey, 40, shouted: “I am a living victim and not getting justice.”

During the case, Owen Davies, QC, representing the Valads, told the court: “There was a possible failure by different authorities to discharge their functions to prevent loss of life and act in the apprehension of someone who was clearly mentally ill.”

But Mr Justice Bennett ruled the government’s legal obligations have been fulfilled.

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