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Where Matthew Hardy is now as Netflix viewers are left disturbed by ‘chilling’ new cyber crime documentary

Where Matthew Hardy is now as Netflix viewers are left disturbed by ‘chilling’ new cyber crime documentary

He stalked dozens of women and always started by saying: "Can I tell you a secret?"

Netflix viewers are being left disturbed by the true crime story of Matthew Hardy, Britain's most prolific cyber-stalker, after the release of the documentary Can I Tell You a Secret?

Those six words were the opening to almost all of Hardy's encounters with his victims, as he stalked and harassed dozens of women over more than a decade.

Can I Tell You a Secret is the top watched TV show on Netflix in the UK today (26 February) as viewers have been left 'disturbed' by the true story of the horrific stalking case.

The documentary follows three women Hardy stalked as things grew from the same opening message into a deeply disturbing campaign against them from someone they didn't even know.

Hardy's messages in the documentary lay out the creepy lengths he would go to in subjecting them to an 'absolutely terrifying' experience.

Who is Matthew Hardy?

Hardy is a cyber-stalker from Northwich, Cheshire, whose first message to his victims was almost always: "Can I tell you a secret?"

Often posing as a friend, he would claim to have information on some aspect of their personal life such as a gossiping friend or a cheating partner.

Blocking Hardy and the fake accounts he used would just cause another one to appear and continue the process and some of his stalking would last for years.

He's the stalker who is the subject of the new Netflix true crime documentary named after his first message to his victims.

Matthew Hardy stalked and harassed dozens of women.
Cheshire Police

What did he do?

Between 2009 and 2020 he became one of the most prolific cyber-stalkers in the UK, with his first targets being girls he was at school with before widening his selection of victims to strangers.

In time he targeted influencers and women with a large following on social media.

For a span of 11 years he stalked and harassed over 60 victims, creating fake profiles on social media to befriend his targets while at other times pretending to be their friends or family in order to gain information about them.

At other times he would either hack accounts or create fake profiles and pretend to be his victim to send their family messages.

One of his victims described him calling them up to 50 times a day just to breathe heavily down the phone.

Other calls he placed included descriptions of what they were doing in the moment so they would know he was watching them.

Abby Furness, one of Hardy's victims, said he sent intimate photos of her to her boss and then tried to convince her boyfriend she was cheating on him which caused a break-up.

Another of his victims, Zoe Jade Hallam, accused the cyber-stalker of posing as her boyfriend's father and sending messages to young girls.

The stalker ruined people's lives and relationships.

How was Matthew Hardy caught?

Hardy had previously been given a restraining order, suspended prison sentence and 250 hours of community service for hacking the Facebook account of a former schoolmate and impersonating her in 2011.

Two years later he pleaded guilty to harassing and hacking another schoolmate, receiving a suspended sentence and restraining order.

Arrested a total of 10 times, the extent of Hardy's stalking was uncovered when he was a suspect in a 2019 stalking case.

PC Kevin Anderson was assigned to the case and found his suspect had a huge amount of other stalking victims.

The officer put together over 100 reports about Hardy, presenting five of the cases to court with a number of others on backup if he was convicted, leading to Hardy's arrest in 2020.

PC Kevin Anderson pieced the pattern together.

What happened at his trial?

While he initially denied all of the charges against him, he later pleaded guilty to five counts of stalking.

Hardy was also charged with harassment after breaching a restraining order, and on 26 January, 2022 Chester Crown Court sentenced him to nine years in prison.

At his sentencing Judge Steven Everett told Hardy that his victims had 'done nothing to harm you' and he in turn had inflicted 'sheer misery' on them.

The judge said: "It will probably affect them for the rest of their lives."

Where is he now?

Currently incarcerated in a Category B prison, the Can I Tell You a Secret? podcast which led to the Netflix show of the same name claimed Hardy was in a wing dedicated to inmates who were at greater risk of being attacked by other prisoners.

Although initially sentenced to nine years behind bars, an appeal reduced it down to eight which means Hardy will be eligible for release in 2030.

Can I Tell You a Secret? is available to stream now on Netflix.

Featured Image Credit: Cheshire Police/Netflix

Topics: True Crime, Netflix, TV and Film, Crime, UK News, Documentaries