Steve Hardwicke (date of birth 1 February 1957) ran a youth club at an Uxbridge church,. Although he was a priest, the offences were committed before he became a priest. At the time of his arrest he was undertaking clerical duties at St Laurence, Cowley, Uxbridge. He was charged on the 26 June 2018. He remained suspended while the trial proceeded.
Steve Hardwicke was found guilty of five counts of historic abuse on the 25 November 2020, after a trial lasting nine days.. His offences related to sexual offences against three boys in the 1970s and 1980’s. The abuse occurred over a period up to 4 years.. The victim survivors were aged between 10 and 18 years. He was found guilty of indecent assault against two boys under the age of 14, and one boy under the age of 16. The offences occurred from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s when he was a youth group leader, which was attached to Stanmore Baptist Church.
On Friday 15 January 2021 Mr Hardwicke was sentenced to a term of five years imprisonment, at Harrow Crown Court, for 5 counts of indecent assault.Diocese of London
Following the conviction, the Bishop of Woolston issued a statement. He said, “Crimes involving grooming and sexual abuse of minors are horrendous and appalling. I applaud the bravery of survivors and victims in coming forward and reporting to the police what had been done to them by a person in a position of trust. I hope that the guilty verdict will now allow them some degree of closure on these events, which are so destructive to the lives of those who suffer abuse.
Malcolm Underhill at IBB Law says, “Our experience of acting on behalf of victims of childhood sexual abuse, over many years, is that the conviction against the paedophile does provide some comfort. However, unfortunately, it does not cause the symptoms of sexual abuse to disappear overnight. Victim survivors of sexual abuse continue to suffer the consequences of the harm they suffered. Therefore, they need continuing support, including financial redress, to reflect the harm suffered, to include the private cost of medical treatment to enable them to gain access to specialist mental health support to enable them to recover”.
Detective Constable Nicola Cameron, the investigating officer from the Edgware Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “Hardwicke took advantage of his young victims’ vulnerability, sexually abusing them on numerous occasions when the opportunities presented themselves. I would like to praise the victims’ courage in reporting what happened to them to police.
“A crime committed over 30 years ago is still a crime. While investigations into non-recent sexual offences can be challenging, we have specially trained officers who will follow up all lines of inquiry, and seek to prosecute when the evidence will support it.”