Greater Manchester Police officer Stephen Hardy jailed for 26 years for rape and sex assault on child

Stephen Hardy was jailed for 26 years for 20 offences, including multiple counts of rape and sexual assault on a child.
Stephen Hardy was jailed for 26 years for 20 offences, including multiple counts of rape and sexual assault on a child.

A detective has been jailed for more than 20 years after being found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting a child.

Stephen Hardy, a detective constable with Greater ManchesterPolice (GMP), was found guilty of 20 offences - including multiple counts of raping and sexually assaulting his teenage victim - following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Sentencing Hardy to 26 years behind bars today (September 13), Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said the 46-year-old used his victim as a “puppet or sex object”.

“You have never shown one iota of remorse for your behaviour,” the judge said. “The indictment reflects a highly calculated and cynical course of grooming behaviour.”

He described Hardy as having a “devious” personality, with a “sinister streak”.

“You were of course, previously, of good character,” 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.”

The judge said he considered the defendant to be dangerous and sentenced him to an extended licence period of six years.

Vanessa Thomson, prosecuting, said the victim reported the abuse to police in 2020.

She said: “The defendant was a controlling and manipulative man.”

In a statement which was read to the court, the victim, who sat alongside members of her family, said she was not sure she would ever be able to fully trust members of law enforcement.

“I maintain a deep fear of authority figures, despite overcoming that fear to report these crimes,” she said. “His position in the Greater Manchester Police force has deeply affected me.”

She said the abuse had permanently affected her mental health and left her scared for her future.

Laura Nash, defending, said Hardy, of Hyde Road, Mottram, continued to deny all the offences.

She said he would “inevitably” find his prison sentence “harder than most” because he was a police officer.

A woman said “love you” as Hardy, wearing a grey suit, was taken down from the dock at the conclusion of the hearing.

Following Hardy’s conviction in July, GMP said he was suspended from duty and would face disciplinary proceedings.

Head of the force’s 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.”