Greater Manchester, UK: A judge sentenced a GMP detective constable to 18 years in prison for raping and sexually abusing a teenage girl. DC Stephen Hardy, 46, was convicted of 20 offences after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court. He showed no remorse for his “highly calculated and cynical” grooming of the victim, who he used as a “puppet or sex object”, Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said.

The judge also said Hardy was “devious” and “sinister” and posed a danger to the public. He gave him an extended license period of six years.

The victim reported the abuse to police in 2020 and said Hardy’s position in the force had deeply affected her. She said she feared authority figures and suffered from mental health problems. Hardy denied all the offences and his lawyer said he would find prison “harder than most” as a police officer.

A woman in court said “love you” to Hardy as he was taken away. GMP said Hardy was suspended from duty and would face disciplinary proceedings. He would not be paid a wage by GMP during that time, the force said.

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