A detective constable of the Greater Manchester Police, Stephen Hardy, Wednesday, was sentenced to 26 years for raping and sexually assaulting a teenage girl, Sky News reports.
Hardy was found guilty of 20 offences, including six counts of rape, following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
The victim, whose identity wasn’t disclosed, said the abuse had permanently affected her mental health and left her scared for her future.
She also noted that 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. His position in the Greater Manchester Police force has deeply affected me,” she stressed.
Delivering the judgment, Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said during the sentencing that Hardy used his teenage victim as a “puppet or sex object.”
Trevor-Jones 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 described the detective constable as having a “devious” personality with a “sinister streak.”
“You have been a long-serving police officer. That is a career that will now inevitably end,” the judge said.
Trevor-Jones lamented that, even though Hardy was aware of the trauma faced by rape victims, it was “aggravating” that he still proceeded with the unlawful act.
“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 lamented.
The prosecuting counsel, Vanessa Thomson, said the victim, who was in court with members of her family during the hearing, reported the abuse to police in 2020.
Thomson described the defendant (Hardy) as”a controlling and manipulative man.”
Counsel to the defendant, Laura Nash, said Hardy continued to deny all the offences and that he would “inevitably” find his prison sentence “harder than most” because he was a police officer.
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 stated.
After his conviction, Detective Sergeant Abigail Thomas, of the GMP’s Major Incident Team, said, “Stephen Hardy has been exposed as a manipulative individual who committed abhorrent offences over a significant period of time. His behaviour and actions go against everything we stand for within policing.
“Tackling violence against women and girls is one of the Force’s top priorities, and anyone found within the organisation to be abusing their position to harm others can expect to face the consequences.”