Friday, 24 May 2024

Police officer who raped and sexually assaulted child jailed for 26 years

A Manchester police officer has been sentenced to 26 years in prison for 20 offences, including multiple counts of rape and sexual assault on a child.

Stephen Hardy, 46, was suspended from duty as a detective constable at Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after his conviction in July.

He was found guilty of the offences, which included six counts of rape, following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said Hardy used his teenage victim, who attended the hearing with members of her family, as a ‘puppet or sex object’.

Sentencing him earlier today, the judge said: ‘You have never shown one iota of remorse for your behaviour.

‘The indictment reflects a highly calculated and cynical course of grooming behaviour.’

He added: ‘You have been a long-serving police officer. That is a career which will now inevitably end.

‘You would have been well aware of the widespread and lasting trauma that victims of sexual abuse suffer and yet you gave no thought to that and that is an aggravating factor.’

In a statement read out to the court, the victim said the abuse had permanently affected her mental health, and that she was not sure she would ever be able to fully trust members of law enforcement.

She said: ‘I maintain a deep fear of authority figures, despite overcoming that fear to report these crimes.

‘His position in the Greater Manchester Police force has deeply affected me.’

Prosecutor Vanessa Thomson said: ‘The defendant was a controlling and manipulative man.’

The victim first reported the abuse to the police in 2020.

Laura Nash, defending, said her client continued to deny all the offences, and added that he would ‘inevitably’ find prison ‘harder than most’ due to his role in the police.

Head of the GMP Professional Standards Branch, Detective Chief Superintendent Mike Allen, said: ‘Given Hardy contested the indictment he faced at the crown court, we were unable to proceed with hearing such matters within the regulated police disciplinary system. He was nevertheless suspended from GMP.

‘Now that Hardy has been convicted, he will face disciplinary proceedings, and as the public would rightly expect, he will not be paid a wage by GMP during the time it takes for his case to be heard.’

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