Between December 1974 and March 1976, three teenage girls were murdered in Manchester. The serial killer is probably a name you have never heard of before, Trevor Hardy. He was caught in August 1976 and found guilty of the three murders in May 1978. But the question has always been, did police miss an opportunity to arrest him earlier and was he ever considered a suspect given that he was released from prison just 6 weeks before his first murder.
In 1972 Hardy was convicted and sentenced to 5 years for attacking a man with a pick-axe, the victim survived. Just over 2 years into his sentence in 1974 he was released from the Isle of Wight’s Albany Jail.
On December 31st, 1974 Janet Lesley Stewart aged 15, was stabbed to death and buried in a shallow grave in Newton Heath, North Manchester.
In July 1975, Wanda Skala aged 17, was killed after being hit across the head with a paver and sexually assaulted. Hardy had bit one of her nipples off during the assault which took place meters away from her home. She was buried partially naked in a shallow grave on a construction site. Hardy was originally arrested for Skala’s murder but was released after his girlfriend provided him with a fake alibi, also he had work done on his teeth so his teeth marks didn’t match the bite marks of Skala’s body.
In March 1976, Sharon Mosoph aged 17, was strangled to death with a pair of stockings, her body was mutilated and one of her nipples had been bitten off. Hardy had come across Mosoph whilst he was attempting to commit a robbery at a shopping centre.
In August 1976, Hardy was arrested for the murders of Wanda Skala and Sharon Mosoph. He confessed to both of these murders and the murder of Janet Lesley Stewart, even though the police had no idea that Stewart had been murdered because they had her listed as a missing person.
Hardy ended up sacking his defence barrister and decided to defend himself. He pled guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter but the plea was rejected and he was found guilty of 3 counts of murder and sentenced to 3 life sentences.
Police have since confirmed that Hardy is the suspect in numerous other murders. In 2012 at the age of 67, Trevor Hardy died from a heart attack.
Rest In Peace Janet Lesley Stewart, Wanda Skala and Sharon Mosoph.