A FORMER Shaw policeman has been re-living his part in the hunt for and conviction of one of Manchester’s most notorious serial killers.
A new documentary has led Ian Kirkpatrick to review the case of evil killer Trevor Hardy.
Vicious Hardy, nicknamed the ‘Beast of Manchester’, murdered three young women during the 1970s and is suspected by Ian and others of being responsible for a fourth death.
The killer died of a heart attack in Wakefield Prison in 2012, aged 67. His secrets were buried with him.
Now, Hardy’s story has been re-told in a one-hour programme on Crime + Investigation called Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer: Trevor Hardy.
Ian, now 74, was interviewed at length for the documentary, having worked extensively on the murder of Hardy’s final victim, 17-year-old Sharon Mosoph.
She was murdered by stabbing and strangulation; her body was found naked and mutilated in Failsworth in March 1976.
Hardy also killed Wanda Skala, 17, in July 1975 while 15-year-old Lesley Jane Stewart was stabbed to death on New Year’s Eve 1974.
He received three life sentences at Manchester Crown Court in 1977.
A fourth girl, Dorothy Leyden, was murdered in 1971 – days after Hardy’s release from prison – but the case remains unsolved.
“I was told I should have written a book, perhaps I should,” says Ian, a father of six and granddad of three.
“Hardy was a nasty piece of work. One violent man. A walking crime wave.
“He was thought to be the youngest person ever to be detained in Strangeways because there was nowhere else would keep him.
“Yet when he was found, hiding in a loft in Stockport, he told us: ‘I will come down if you don’t hit me’. That sums him up.
“My recollection is we brought him back from Stockport to Oldham in our car. But after that the senior officers did the interviewing.
“Hardy was active at the same time as the Yorkshire Ripper.
“And even though he killed three, probably four, he was overshadowed by the Ripper who was so high profile.”
Hardy’s killing spree ended when he was snared by forensic evidence.
“Sharon worked at Marlborough Mill in Failsworth and went to a firm’s do in Bolton,” explained Ian, who was a detective for nearly 20 years before his retirement in 1993.
“She travelled back to Manchester with a young man who lived in Stockport.
“They had a bit of a kiss and cuddle before he got one bus and Sharon got hers to Failsworth where Hardy murdered her.
“He strangled her, stripped her clothes and bundled them up in his top coat. He throws the lot into the canal.
“However, when the young man gave Sharon a kiss and cuddle, fibres from his coat transferred to Sharon’s coat. When Hardy killed Sharon, fibres from her coat and the young man’s went onto Hardy’s coat.”
Ian, a former Crompton House pupil, is convinced Hardy also murdered Dorothy Leyden, whose body was found battered behind the Spread Eagle pub in Collyhurst.
“Her murder is similar to that of Wanda Skala,” said Ian.
“Both were battered with a brick and Hardy wrote a dossier while he was in Wakefield Prison and is obsessed with Dorothy Leyden.”
Ian, who joined the Force in 1962, investigated other major crimes and admits they did affect him.
“Anyone who says otherwise is probably lying,” he told the Correspondent.
“There are some violent, nasty people out there. One guy killed his brother over a row over a tumble dryer.
“I worked on the Hallbottom Street murders in Hyde in 1979 and that was brutal.”
Like the Leyden killing, the deaths of Frieda Hunter and Joe Gallagher remain a mystery.
They were found in each other’s arms in their bed having been hit at least 14 times with a large heavy hammer.
“You used to make light of things even though it did effect you,” said Ian.
“There has been an odd tear in my eye, especially when young kids were involved.
“The job itself has changed immensely since I joined and a few of us would say ‘we had the best times’.
“It was a great job to be in the CID from the 70s through to the 90s.
“And even now, after all these years, I would love to help solve Dorothy’s death.”