The chilling true story of ‘Can I Tell You A Secret?’
(Credit: Netflix)


The chilling true story of ‘Can I Tell You A Secret?’

Netflix’s latest true crime documentary, Can I Tell You A Secret? delves into the chilling story of Matthew Hardy, one of the UK’s most prolific cyberstalkers. 

With a nine-year sentence, Hardy received the longest custodial sentence in British history for his online stalking activities, and now his story is being highlighted in a new documentary. Directed by Guardian journalist Sirin Kale, the series is set to release on February 21st, 2024, promising an in-depth exploration of the women targeted by Hardy, the police investigation, and the pursuit of justice.

The official logline for the Netflix documentary reads: “Can I Tell You a Secret? tells the story of some of the women targeted by serial stalker, Matthew Hardy, who in early 2022 received the longest custodial sentence in British history for stalking online. The series explores the women’s experiences, the police investigation and how Hardy was ultimately brought to justice.”

Before the two-part documentary drops on Netflix, here’s a look at the true story of Can I Tell You A Secret? Read on to learn everything you need to.

What is the true story behind Can I Tell You A Secret?

Matthew Hardy’s reign of terror began innocuously enough, with seemingly harmless messages sent to his targets, bearing the question, “Can I tell you a secret?” But Hardy’s modus operandi involved infiltrating the lives of unsuspecting women, unleashing a relentless campaign of harassment that spanned years. More than 62 victims had lodged police complaints against him, and he had been arrested ten times but let out every single time.

Hardy’s targets ranged from acquaintances to complete strangers, with his web of deceit extending to include their families and associates. His methods were ruthless, as he exploited social media platforms to spread fear and misinformation with impunity. In one instance, Hardy impersonated one of his target’s boyfriend’s father on social media, sending messages to several underage girls, which ruined his reputation and medical practice. Despite previous run-ins with the law, including charges of hacking and harassment, Hardy continued unabated for years.

The documentary Can I Tell You A Secret? sheds light on Hardy’s disturbing history, tracing his trajectory from troubled teenager to notorious cyberstalker. It explores his escalating pattern of harassment, which escalated from targeting classmates to stalking women with significant online followings. Hardy’s actions caused irreparable damage to his victims’ lives and livelihoods.

The tireless efforts of law enforcement, particularly PC Kevin Anderson, who spearheaded the investigation into Hardy’s crimes, eventually brought him to justice. Despite facing numerous obstacles, including multiple breaches of restraining orders, Anderson remained steadfast. His determination ultimately led to Hardy’s arrest and subsequent sentencing, marking a significant victory in the fight against online harassment.

The documentary will also highlight the broader societal implications of online stalking. Executive producer Nancy Strang emphasises the profound impact of Hardy’s actions, underscoring the urgent need for greater awareness and action against online abuse. She told Cosmopolitan, “I hope their testimonies will shed light on the reality of online stalking and change the conversation about what constitutes harm in a digital age.”

You can stream Can I Tell You A Secret? On Netflix from February 21st, 2024.