What Did Cyberstalker Matthew Hardy Do?


The new Netflix documentary titled Can I Tell You a Secret? delves into the shocking story of the UK’s biggest cyberstalker. The person under the magnifying glass is Matthew Hardy, a man from Cheshire who has created hundreds of fake accounts for over a decade.

According to The Guardian, Hardy stalked his victims for years. In instances, he spread lies about the victims to her friends, family, and colleagues. These lies involved the victim having an affair with her boss or stepdad. Furthermore, he would either hack the victim’s social media profiles or create fake accounts in her name. Shockingly, Hardy even posed as the victim to have sexually explicit conversations and even sent their stolen intimate photos.

Matthew Hardy’s actions resulted in the victims losing friends, loved ones, professional opportunities, and even relationships. For protection, one victim apparently slept with a baseball bat in her hand, while another kept a katana near her bed. Furthermore, several suffered from depression and anxiety and required medication.

Every conversation would start the same way: A social media user would message the woman, “Can I tell you a secret?”. Except for Matthew, nobody knew the exact number of victims.

The director of Can I Tell You a Secret? is Liza Williams. Furthermore, according to the Independent, she learned about this case on The Guardian’s 2022 podcast. She stated, “I was really struck by the power of the women’s stories and their bravery. They had huge amounts of agency in how the perpetrator was caught and had to take the matter into their own hands, to a degree.”

According to IMDb, the synopsis of Can I Tell You A Secret? reads, “Three women’s lives are changed forever when a prolific stalker infiltrates their social media accounts. And they’re only a fraction of his many victims.”

Where is Matthew Hardy now?

Now 32, Matthew Hardy pleaded guilty for his actions in October 2021. Furthermore, On Wednesday, 26th January 2022, the court sentenced him to nine years in prison. People believe that this punishment is the longest sentence handed out in a British court for a stalking offense.

According to The Daily Mail UK, in October 2022, three judges sitting in the court of appeal reduced his sentence to eight years. The trio believed the original length of the sentence was too high. Furthermore, Hardy suffered from Asperger’s and autism, due to which he could not understand how his actions affected his victims.

His lawyer, Sara Haque, stated, “The defendant wishes to have a full, happy life. He sees these people living their happy lives online and tries to make a connection with them … there is then a rejection that the defendant feels, which then triggers a lashing out.”

One of Matthew Hardy’s victims was a 25-year-old Boutique owner named Lia Hambly. She stated that he would call her time after time, impersonate her online, and even pose as her and send sexual messages to others. She said, “You’d block one account and then he’d make another one. Or then he wouldn’t be contacting me, he’d be contacting a family friend, their boyfriend or their husband.”

She further stated, “I think that will stay forever. I don’t think that will ever go away. Even when I watched the documentary, it still makes me emotional. It brings back that feeling of: why have you done this to me?”

Even though years have passed since the incident, Lia still feels embarrassed to be around people that Hardy spoke to using catfish accounts.

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