Now Colin Hardy, 64, from Manchester has unearthed some of the secrets his brother, Trevor Hardy, thought he'd taken to the grave...
*Watch Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer: Trevor Hardy on Crime + Investigation, Sunday 14 January at 10pm*
My brother Trevor Hardy’s words chilled me to the bone.
‘I did it,’ he said. It was October 1975 and Trevor, then 30, had forced me to go for a pint with him and his girlfriend in a pub. Talk had turned to a murder that’d shocked the community. Local barmaid Wanda Skala, 17, had been found battered to death in July that year.
‘What do you mean?’ I stuttered.
‘I hit her with a brick,’ he said. Boasted. Trevor was eight years older then me. A violent career criminal, he’d been in and out of jail since he was 15. Before that, it was approved schools, borstals… I remember, as a boy, getting the bus with our mum to visit him at detention centres. He was a vicious bully and I’d always been terrified of him. But this was different. This was murder.
‘I don’t believe you,’ I said.
‘It’s true,’ his girlfriend said. Claimed she’d give Trevor an alibi if I ever told anyone. In shock, I continued to sip my pint, desperately thinking of a way to get away from Trevor. But, at closing time, he walked me back to my place. I’ll be safe at home, I thought. By then, it was getting late.
‘You’re going to miss the last bus,’ I said as we walked in the door. The last thing I remember…
Beaten to a pulp
Trevor just went berserk, fists flying. Then, stepping over my unconscious body, he told my then-partner that he was hungry.
‘Make me some beans on toast,’ he ordered. She was so frightened, she did. After that, he just left the house. My missus patched me up. But, next day – battered and bruised – I didn’t know what to do. I was utterly terrified. I knew Trevor gave me a hiding to stop me speaking out. But I couldn’t stop thinking about that poor girl…
Wanda Skala had been walking home from Lightbowne Hotel, where she worked, when she was ambushed. She was battered with a brick, throttled and sexually assaulted. Her body had been found the following morning, partially buried on a building site.
‘I have to do something,’ I told my partner. So I told the police everything – and Trevor was hauled in for questioning.
They’ll never let him go,
I thought. Wrong. His girlfriend did as she’d promised – gave Trevor an alibi. In the end, he got a suspended sentence for assaulting me
and was released.
Back terrorising the streets of Manchester.
‘He’ll kill again,’ I warned officers. And I knew he’d come for me, wanting revenge. I turned my house into a fortress, with locks and bars on the windows. Trevor still broke in. Luckily, the police got there in time, kicked him out. For months, we lived in fear. Then, one morning in March 1976, I picked up a newspaper. Splashed across the front page was a story that made my blood run cold. Another girl killed in Manchester.
Trevor strikes again
Sharon Mosoph, 17, had been on her way home from a night out when she was battered, throttled, sexually assaulted. Her naked, mutilated body dumped in Rochdale Canal. And I just knew. It was Trevor. I fell to pieces, both furious and devastated. I phoned the police, got hold of one of the top detectives.
‘You know who you’re looking for, don’t you?’ I cried. Trevor was also suspected of attacking a woman in a pub toilet, squeezing her throat, causing her to bite off part of her tongue. But he’d gone into hiding. It was several weeks before officers tracked him down and arrested him. This time, his girlfriend caved. She admitted she wasn’t with Trevor when Wanda was killed. Nor could she give him an alibi for the night Sharon was murdered. The evidence was stacking up. Both girls had bite marks on their breasts. Horrific.
My brother was charged, held on remand. Then, suddenly, out of the blue, Trevor confessed to both murders. And admitted a third…
One no-one had a clue about. Janet Lesley Stewart, 15, known as Lesley, vanished on New Year’s Eve 1974. She’d arranged to meet her boyfriend, but never showed. A search was launched, posters put up across the city by her family. But she was never found. Trevor confessed he’d come across Lesley on a dark street the night she went missing. He stabbed her to death, then buried her on Newton Heath. Horrifically, he confessed that, over the following months, he’d returned to her shallow grave. Pulled apart her corpse with his bare hands to conceal it further.
It was depraved. Police only found part of Lesley’s remains. But it was enough to charge Trevor with her murder, too. Three murders: my brother was a serial killer.
In April 1977, Trevor Joseph Hardy went on trial at Manchester Crown Court. But, despite his grisly confession, he pleaded not guilty. Unbelievable. Would justice be done for those poor girls? The evidence against my brother Trevor was overwhelming. So, halfway through his trial, he fired his lawyers to defend himself. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. He tried to persuade the jury that he was mad. That he needed help, not punishment. They didn’t buy it. My brother was found guilty of all three murders.
Finally, he’d pay. Trevor tried to claim that he hadn’t meant to murder any of the girls. He said he’d mistaken Lesley for a schoolgirl who’d broken his heart. Had killed Sharon and Wanda in muggings gone wrong. Absolute nonsense, in my opinion.
Trevor was plain evil, a monster. The papers nicknamed him the Beast of Manchester. I watched him get sentenced. Life in prison. He deserved worse. That was the last time I saw Trevor.
‘I want nothing more to do with him,’ I told family. I tried to move on, make a life for myself. But Trevor’s evil legacy has haunted me for 35 years. I was the brother of a serial killer. Guilty by association. Someone to avoid.
Then, in September 2012, I got a call from a journalist wanting to interview me. About my brother’s death! Trevor had suffered a heart attack in his cell in Wakefield Prison and died in hospital. It was a shock, but a strange feeling hit me. Relief. I went to his funeral. Not out of brotherly love. I just hoped that, with him dead, it would be the end. Closure.
But, as our parents and
older siblings had passed
away, I inherited the contents of his cell. I don’t know why, curiosity perhaps, but instead of just letting prison staff incinerate them, I had them send Trevor’s belongings to me. Boxes and boxes arrived. Digging through them, I was stunned at what was inside. Case files, medical
reports, documents. Letters from family.
The contents were disturbing, tore open some very old wounds. Trevor wrote prolifically about his victims, other unsolved murders…
The more I read, the angrier I became. Rather than be free of Trevor, I felt his evil presence more than ever. So I asked a forensic medical expert, Dr Jason Payne-James, to analyse the documents. Uncover Trevor’s secrets. Find out why he was a monster and whether he could actually be responsible for more murders. Then, finally, I can be free of my evil brother.
In a one-off documentary, forensic medical expert Dr Jason Payne-James explores the previously unseen personal letters and documents Colin inherited from the prison cell of his brother Trevor Hardy. Dr Payne-James calls upon his network of Forensic and Psychology experts to reveal the serial killer’s secrets and, hopefully, give Colin some answers.
Watch Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer: Trevor Hardy on Crime + Investigation, Sunday 14 January at 10pm.
When life means life
The families of Hardy’s victims spent decades campaigning for him to be told he’d spend the rest of his life in jail. Finally, in June 2008, the High Court ruled Hardy should be given a whole-life tariff. Mr Justice Teare said the evidence showed ‘sexual or sadistic conduct’ and ‘no mitigating features’. This is a case where the gravity of the offences justifies a whole-life order,’ he said