Letters to the Editor
The inquiry into ‘Camden Ripper’ Anthony Hardy, held in private, which exonerated the psychiatrists, did not go far enough into Hardy’s previous violence or the authorities’ responsibility for not prosecuting him earlier. Yet he was known to hate women, particularly prostitute women, had a history of extreme violence and hospital staff had expressed “concerns that he was a danger to the public”.
Jackie Valad, the mother of one of his victims, called for a public inquiry into why Hardy was never prosecuted for the murder of Sally White – who was found dead in his flat – three reported rapes and attempted murder of his wife. This crucial issue was not the main focus of the health authority inquiry.
Women, and often children, are raped or murdered by men like Hardy because earlier crimes, especially within the home, were not prosecuted.
Despite lip service, such psychopathic violence is still not treated as criminal. Ian Huntley was reported for rape and sexual assault nine times, including by his partners, before he killed two little girls in Soham.
Robert Howard now serving a life sentence for killing a girl, had a 40-year history of violence. In 1969 he attempted to rape and strangle a girl — he was convicted for aggravated burglary. In 1993 he abducted, drugged and raped a 17-year old girl for two days — he was convicted only of unlawful sex. Women and girls come to us when prosecutions are dropped by police or CPS.
The story is always the same: key evidence was inaccurately recorded, misinterpreted, destroyed or deemed “insufficient”.
As a result less than six per cent of reported rapes and five per cent of recorded domestic violence end in conviction and two women every week are murdered by
their partner or ex-partner. Many “women and girls would be alive today if their attackers had been prosecuted and appropriately sentenced the first time they struck.
LISA LONGSTAFF Women Against Rape
NINA LOPEZ Legal Action for Women
CARI MITCHELL English Collective of Prostitutes
PETER SAUNDERS National Association for People Abused in Childhood
LEO MCLAUGHLIN Save Our Day Centres (mental health service users)
KIM SPARROW Single Mothers’ Self-Defence
PETER GARSDEN Association of Child Abuse Lawyers
WOMEN AGAINST RAPE Crossroads Women’s Centre Kentish Town Road NW5 www.womenagainstrape.net