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British serial killer who bit off girls' nipples then filed teeth to evade cops

Trevor Hardy is an almost forgotten serial killer who terrorised a British city in the 1970s with a string of horrific sexually motivated murders of young girls


Four decades ago Trevor Hardy had a thirst for violence and an appetite for murder that was never quenched.

His hideous crimes terrorised the city of Manchester and left three families completely bereft. The extraordinary lengths he went to to evade capture are the stuff of nightmare.

Yet today the 'Beast of Manchester' is one of Britain's lesser known serial killers. The misery he inflicted has been eclipsed by other monsters casting longer and deeper shadows.

There are some, however, who cannot forget. They live with the loss of three young girls who Hardy butchered without hesitation or remorse before their lives had really begun.

Janet Lesley Stewart was stabbed to death on New Year's Eve 1974. She was just 15 (Image: Daily Mirror Manchester)

Sharon Mosoph was stabbed and strangled with a pair of tights as she walked back from a staff party in March 1976 (Image: Daily Mirror Manchester)

Wanda Skala, 17, was murdered in July 1975 when she walked home from the hotel where she worked as a barmaid (Image: Daily Mirror Manchester)

MAKING OF A MURDERER

In 1972 and aged 31, Hardy was jailed for five years for wounding a man with a pick-axe. The judge told him he was a menace to society but could not have predicted how terrible a menace he would become.

He walked out of the Isle of Wight's Albany Jail on November 18, 1974. Within weeks he had committed his first murder.

In prison he had brooded on revenge and earmarked two people for death. The first was his ex - pa1 Stanley O'Brien, whom he suspected of doublecrossing him. The second was 14-year old Beverley Driver.

She had been a girlfriend, but while Hardy was in jail she found a boy of her own age she had written to him in jail because she was sorry for him but her family ordered her to stop and that put her on Hardy's list.

Hardy told police later: "I sat on the train saying 'O'Brien and Beverley' again and again."

He was shattered when he got to his parents' home in Moston, Manchester, and they told him O'Brien had died.

Margaret Stewart, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Janet, at Manchester Crown Court during Hardy's trial (Image: Daily Mirror Manchester)

Czeslaw and Norma Skala, the parents of Wanda Skala (Image: Manchester Evening News Archive)

Sharon Mosoph's father Ralph and stepmother Jackie. She was stabbed and strangled (Image: Daily Mirror Manchester)

THE TRAGIC VICTIMS

Hardy went to Beverley's home and threw an axe through a window. But he did not see Beverley. Instead, he spotted 15-year-old Lesley Stewart walking to meet her boyfriend.

He stabbed her in the throat and buried her in a nearby claypit.

For weeks afterwards he kept returning to the makeshift grave at night to cut up Lesley's body and bury the parts in other places.

Her head was tossed into a lake.

Police listed Lesley as a missing person. It was twenty-one months before they learned her fate from Hardy's confessions.

Hardy removed Stewart's ring and gave it to another girl as a "love token".

He then killed 18-year-old Wanda Skala in July 1975.

Sharon Mosoph was stabbed and strangled with a pair of tights prior to being dumped in the Rochdale Canal at Failsworth, Oldham. (Image: Manchester Evening News Archive)

The part-time barmaid was murdered 400 yards from her home in Moston.

Hardy battered her with a brick, then strangled her with her own tights after tearing off her clothes.

Before burying her on a building site he bit off one of her nipples.

Hardy had also kept Wanda's blood-stained clothes and her handbag as "grisly trophies".

Next came 17-year-old Sharon Mossoph who was on her way home from an office party and witnessed Hardy attempting to burgle a shopping centre at night

She was strangled, stripped naked and tossed into a canal 300 yards from her home in Failsworth.

Sharon also had a nipple bitten off.

Sharon Mosoph's father Ralph is pictured holding the letter he received from her killer (Image: Manchester Evening News Archive)

Detective Chief Supt. Tom Butcher (left) watches as Sharon's coffin is carried in to Holy Trinity Church for the funeral service (Image: Manchester Evening News Archive)

Janet Stewart's mother Margaret. She was murdered on New Year's Eve 1974 but her family had to wait until 1978 to see Hardy convicted (Image: Sunday People)
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But Hardy feared that the police would trace him through his teeth marks so he stripped and plunged into the icy water clutching a metal rivet. He used it to scratch the girl's mutilated breast in a bid to cover up the teethmarks.

Sharon’s body was found the next morning in the Rochdale Canal by someone working at a nearby dairy.

It was a cold night in March 1976 and by the time she was found, the water had frozen around her.

Later, while he was being held in custody he used a nail file on his teeth in a bid to avoid being linked with the killings.

Detectives had picked him up for questioning about the murder but he was released when his mistress Shelagh Farrow, 42, gave him a false alibi.

But police got on his trail again alter he attacked another girl 21- year-old Christian Campbell who escaped with her life, biting through her tongue in the struggle, but later provided the vital clues.

Detectives tracked Hardy to a house in Stockport by shadowing Shelagh Farrow.

Eventually he wrote a confession that covered forty pages.

The body of murder victim Wanda Skala, 17, is recovered from a building site in Manchester, July 1975 (Image: Daily Mirror Manchester)

Sharon Mosoph's body was found near this site in Poplar Street, Failsworth (Image: Manchester Evening News Archive)

TRIAL AND RETRIBUTION

When Hardy was arrested he also confessed to killing Lesley Stewart and cutting up her body.

He took police to the lake where he had thrown her head, then to a shallow grave containing some of her skeleton.

In the dock Hardy pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

But the jury at Manchester Crown Court rejected his claim that he was mentally abnormal.

They convicted him of murder.

Earlier, a psychiatrist described Hardy as "a hopelessly evil, dangerous man" who could kill again.

Sentencing Mr Justice Caulfleld told Hardy: "This area is a happy place. But it will be a happier place without you.

"You have been convicted of the horrible murders of three young girls, and you will go to prison for life."

At that point, people in the public gallery yelled at Hardy: "Come up here, you murdering bastard . . . Die, you bastard."

The police team who led the hunt for Hardy (Image: Daily Mirror Manchester)

Trevor Hardy with his mother in 1971. He blamed his crimes on his upbringing. (Image: Manchester Evening News WS)
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Hardy was found guilty of murder and given three life sentences.

Shortly after he was sent down, Hardy sent a letter for the attention of the Mosoph family, posting it to a nearby club blaming his upbringing.

Hardy’s crimes overlapped with the start of Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe’s killing spree, and there were similarities between the two in terms of the widespread terror they engendered.

It was in part the crimes of Sutcliffe which led to Hardy's own being forgotten.

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But at the time in neighbourhoods such as Moston and Blackley, women were reluctant to go out alone after dark, and men would be asked to escort them home.

At the height of the hunt for the serial killer, 23,000 people were stopped and searched

For many years, the suspicion lingered that Hardy may have killed more than three times. Dorothy Leyden was 17 when she was raped and beaten to death in April 1971, her body dumped behind a pub in Collyhurst.

Many believed this could have been a precursor to Hardy’s reign of terror, but police reviewing the case said in 2008 that forensic evidence discounted Hardy as the killer.

The Mirror's front page as Hardy faced more investigations into his crimes (Image: Daily Mirror)


Also in 2008, Hardy asked that his minimum jail term be set at 30 years. The plea was rejected by Mr Justice Teare at the High Court, who said that Hardy did not accept his guilt and showed no remorse. For him, life should mean life.

Hardy collapsed in his cell at Wakefield Prison on 23 September 2012 after suffering a heart attack - he died in the hospital two days later, aged 67.

Sharon Mosoph's father Ralf told the M.E.N : "Me and my family think this is the best thing that has ever happened to us. It’s like winning the lottery. We’ve had a big party to celebrate his death.

"We feel as though a burden has been lifted from our shoulders, knowing that he cannot come out and do anything to anybody else.

"We knew he was inside but you cannot forget something like that. It preys on your mind. What he did was cold blooded murder. He was an animal."

Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer: Trevor Hardy will air exclusively on Crime + Investigation (CI) in the UK, launching on Sunday 14 January at 10pm.

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