Is this 2018’s first great true crime documentary?

Who is Trevor Hardy?

Unsolved murders are like catnip for true-crime junkies. Limited information drip-fed over a number of hours has proved the perfect formula for hit series like Making A Murderer and Casting JonBenet. But often, the most frustrating mysteries are best absorbed all at once. Enter Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer: Trevor Hardy – a fascinating one-hour documentary set to air on Crime + Investigation this Sunday (January 14). It’s the gripping untold story of a brutal serial killer on the loose in 1970s Manchester. If you’re a sucker for a good investigative thriller, then you won’t want to miss it. Here’s everything you need to know to get your detective on this weekend.

What’s it about?

Trevor Joseph Hardy, aka The Beast of Manchester, was a convicted serial killer who murdered three innocent schoolgirls back in the mid-’70s. He escaped capture for nearly two years before his arrest in August 1976. Sentenced to life in prison, Hardy died in 2012 at the age of 67.

Case closed, right? Wrong. The most intriguing part of Hardy’s story isn’t the horrific crimes he was incarcerated for. It’s actually one the police never managed to pin on him – the unsolved killing of 17-year-old Dorothy Layden.

Locals have long suspected Hardy, but DNA samples found on Layden’s body failed to match. Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer: Trevor Hardy delves back into the evidence – with the help of Trevor’s brother Colin – to try and finally discover the identity of Layden’s murderer, 40 years after the fact.

Colin Hardy, the brother of notorious serial killer Trevor

Why is it so good?

What makes BFSK:TH compelling isn’t its relatively unknown story, or its evil villain. It’s the unique way in which it is told. Colin Hardy – along with presenter Dr Jason Payne-James – provides the main voice for the programme and his sibling insight is fascinating. It turns out that Trevor actually boasted to his brother about the killings and Colin turned him in. But for reasons explained in the doc, they let him go. Trevor went on to murder two more girls afterwards. In several intense scenes, Colin recounts his life under the shadow of this vicious, deranged killer. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that will both shock and appal you in equal measure.

Presenter and forensic and legal medicine specialist Dr Jason Payne-James

When can I watch?

Britain’s Forgotten Serial Killer: Trevor Hardy airs on Crime + Investigation at 10pm this Sunday, 14 January