BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Wales  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 2 August, 2002, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
From 'quiet lad' to killer
Mabel Leyshon graphic
The youth convicted of the brutal murder of elderly widow Mabel Leyshon was a quiet boy, according to one of his school friends.

"He was a quiet lad, who kept himself to himself," said the former pupil.

"He was not a very sociable person and stayed in most of the time."

At the time I was in his house I didn't see anything strange to make me believe that he did it

Former school friend

He said that no-one ever suspected 17-year-old Mathew Hardman had any involvement in the shocking crime until the defendant was arrested.

Hardman left David Huws School in Anglesey at the age of 16 and went on to study art and design at Menai College.

He had completed one term, and was also working part-time as a kitchen porter at a local hotel, when he was arrested in Llanfairpwll in January.

From the ages of 13 to 16, Hardman had had a weekly paper round which included visits to Mrs Leyshon's bungalow.

It emerges he had already dropped a chilling hint of what was to come during a conversation with a teenage German exchange student staying in the town.

He told her that he believed it was "a perfect place for vampires" because of the many elderly people there, and if any of them died after being bitten people would assumed they had had a heart attack.

He also said "it wouldn't matter too much" if he killed a pensioner - and had accused the girl of being a vampire and asked her to bite him.

But friends of Hardman had little reason to suspect he was capable of such a crime.

His school friend recalled an incident when he had missed the bus and had been offered a lift by the defendant.

"At the time I was in his house I didn't see anything strange to make me believe that he did it."

After Hardman was arrested, attention focused on his art portfolio.

Friends say it was full or "morbid and depressing" images - particularly death, blood and knives.

"I don't think anyone thought much of it before this happened but then obviously as more evidence came out and looking back now...

"But still it's very hard to believe because he's just a local lad," said the school friend.

'Well behaved'

Hardman was born and lived in Amlwch, on the north coast of Anglesey, before moving to Llanfairpwll in 1998, when he was 13.

He and his mother Julia, a nurse, and her partner Alan Benneyworth, a former Ministry of Defence fireman, lived in a bungalow.

That same year his father, who was separated from his mother, died from a massive asthma attack - causing distress to the youngster.

Obsession

During his subsequent trial, a former school teacher described to the jury how he had been "a well behaved boy with a good sense of humour".

The special needs tutor, who had helped the defendant with dyslexia, spoke of a very pleasant, amenable young man who was keen to learn.

He would ask questions, but his writing and spelling had suffered because of his condition.

"He was always very well behaved," the teacher said, and there had never been any disciplinary problems.

Hardman's hobbies appeared to be no different from most teenage boys - computer games, television, pop music, art, lads' magazines and drinking with friends.

But the teenager also had a more unusual hobby, an interest in vampires and the occult, which was to become his obsession.

See also:

02 Aug 02 | Wales
02 Aug 02 | Wales
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes