Uxbridge priest guilty of sexually abusing boys as young as 14

A priest who ran a youth club at his Uxbridge church groomed and sexually abused three boys under the age of 16.

Steve Hardwicke, 63, was found guilty of indecent assault against two boys under the age of 14 and one boy under the age of 16 in the 1970s.

Hardwicke was working as a priest at a church, where he ran a youth club and took school children on school trips, when he was arrested earlier this year.

Harrow Crown Court heard on November 25 Hardwicke sexually assaulted the boys for as long as four years in the 1970s.

Two of his victims were aged just 14, and another 16. 

The Reverend, of St Laurence Church Cowley, in Church Road, Uxbridge was living 150 metres from the Church at the Rectory further down the road. 

The crimes were committed before he became a priest.

In a statement the Diocese of London asked church goers to hold the victims and survivors of the attacks in their prayers.

The statement read: “The Bishop of Willesden asks you to hold in your prayers all those who have been involved in the case, particularly the victims and survivors.

“He said ‘crimes involving grooming and sexual abuse of minors are appalling. I applaud the bravery of survivors and victims in coming forward and reporting to the Police what had happened 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’.”

The Diocese explained they suspended Hardwicke from all clerical duties at St Laurence Cowley during the police investigation.

He continued to be suspended while the trial took place. Hardwicke will be sentenced in January.

The Diocese statement added: “We recognise that this has been an extremely difficult time for all those affected. St Laurence Cowley is being provided with pastoral support during this period. Should anyone have specific safeguarding concerns, they should speak with the Diocesan Safeguarding Team, using the Helpline number 02079321224.”