Church leader jailed for five years for abusing schoolboys

A former church youth group leader who abused two schoolboys in the 1970s and 80s has been jailed.

Stephen Hardwicke, 63, from Uxbridge, abused the young boys who were aged between 10 and 15 over a five-year period.

Today (Friday) he was sentenced at Harrow Crown Court to five years in prison after being found guilty of five counts of indecent assault at an earlier trial. He was also put on the sex offender’s register for life.

The abuse took place when Hardwicke was a leader and helper at the Way In church youth group connected to Stanmore Baptist Church.

Some of the abuse took place on overnight trips to Wales or Hertfordshire with the youth group. In one incident a victim was made to take part in sexual activity as part of a card game.

Bambi Hammond, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “As a church leader Stephen Hardwicke was in a position of trust and he wilfully abused this. He used his position to allow him to commit his crimes against young boys.

“Hardwicke took a special interest in these children’s lives. He groomed them and made sure he was the only person they could turn to.

“These heinous crimes have left a long-lasting impact on Hardwicke’s victims who have suffered psychological harm as a result of this abuse.

“I hope these convictions go some way in providing a sense of closure to these victims.”

Harrow Times | Local News