Source: BBC News
A former teaching assistant described by a judge as a “persistent sexual predator” has been jailed – five years after two of his victims complained. In the meantime he targeted another pupil, who tried to kill herself because of what happened. So why wasn’t Kevin Doxey stopped sooner?
“One of the uniformed police officers that came to my house – and I will not forget it – said ‘Sometimes students do get crushes on their teachers’.
“It made me feel like ‘Is this my fault?’ I didn’t have a crush on him at all, but that isn’t even the point. Even if I had, he was the person in authority.”
Charlotte* was just 14 when she raised concerns about Kevin Doxey, a teaching assistant at her school in Derbyshire.
- Warning: Contains details some readers may find distressing
Doxey had started talking to her on social media, and the messages seemed innocent at first.
However, Charlotte knew something was wrong when he asked her to answer questions on a sex questionnaire.
“There were questions such as ‘What’s your bra size? Are you a virgin?’ He asked whether I masturbated and how and when,” she said.
“And whenever I said I didn’t want to answer these questions he was very persistent and said that I had to.”
She complained to a teacher the next day, back in May 2018.
“As I was explaining it, another student in that school said ‘Are you talking about Kevin Doxey? He has done the same to me’,” she said.
The school then contacted police, Charlotte passed on some of the messages as evidence, and Doxey was arrested.
However, she was eventually told no action would be taken against him.
Doxey had told police his account had been hacked and he had not sent the messages – but Charlotte knew he was lying.
“A lot of the messages were things only he would know, talking about the drama class we’d had the day before and things like that,” she said.
“It wouldn’t just be someone who had hacked his account.”
Charlotte said she felt infuriated by the police’s failure to bring charges – particularly as she was not the only pupil at Anthony Gell School that Doxey had been communicating with sexually.
She has since found out he had done the same to another pupil about a year before, between April and August 2017.
Shortly after that, he targeted another girl, Bethany, between September 2017 and May 2018. She was the pupil who spoke up at the same time as Charlotte.
Bethany, who was 15 at the time, said that as well as sending her sexual questionnaires, Doxey used to wait outside her house, which terrified her.
“He would wait by the alleyway near my house and message me asking if he could come in or if I could go out and meet him, but I never did,” said Bethany, who is now 21.
“I didn’t feel safe at home any more.
“I would constantly be at the window peeking through the curtain making sure there was no one there. Who is going to save me if anything happens here?”
When Charlotte spoke up it prompted her to say something too.
“I sent the screenshots [to the school],” Bethany said.
“That was it, nothing else happened, that was just the end of it. I had no update, absolutely nothing, so I don’t know what happened after that.”
The BBC has asked Derbyshire Police why Doxey was not charged back in 2018. The force said an investigation was conducted and he was interviewed.
“He gave an explanation that his account had been hacked and that he had not sent the messages,” police said in a statement.
“As a result of technical issues relating to the social media accounts, the investigating officers were unable to disprove Doxey’s account.”
When asked, the police failed to specify what the technical issues were.
The police’s failure to act left Doxey free to target another pupil – Daisy.
She later tried to kill herself as a result of his actions.
Daisy said his messages on social media were “friendly” to begin with, then he sent her the sexual questionnaire.
“I would always ignore him when he sent it to me,” said Daisy, who is now 18.
“He was pressuring me to speak to him and answer his questions. But I didn’t.”
This went on for some time until Doxey sent her a photo of his genitals in August 2019, during the summer holidays.
She was at a sleepover at a friend’s house when it happened.
“Kevin was snapping me on my Snapchat and he was asking me what I was doing,” she said.
“I told him I was sleeping at my mate’s house, and he said he could come and pick me up and I could stay at his for the night and my parents would think I was at my friend’s house when really I would be with him.”
Daisy said she ignored him, and that was when he sent the photo.
“I remember it now, it’s kind of scarred in my head,” she said.
“He was lying in bed and he had a stripy duvet on his bedsheets.
“And it had the caption on it saying ‘Wish you was here’, with the wink emoji and kisses.”
Because the photo was sent on Snapchat it would have automatically disappeared, meaning there would have been no evidence.
However, Daisy – showing great presence of mind – used another phone to take a photo of the phone screen.
She told her parents when she got home, and her dad contacted police, who arrested Doxey.
However, it took three and a half years for Doxey to be convicted and sentenced.
Daisy said she had continued to feel scared, knowing he lived near her.
Doxey had been suspended by the school during the course of the investigation.
“I went to Morrisons and I actually saw him working there,” she said.
“I had a panic attack. It did affect how safe I felt when I went out.
“It was just so scary for me to go out and know he’s still out there living his life.”
In 2023, Doxey was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to four counts of engaging in sexual communication with a child, with one offence for each of the victims.
Derbyshire Police said the initial two complaints were reopened when Daisy complained, and a fourth victim was also identified.
“While new information had not been discovered in relation to the offences that had been reported in 2018, the similarities between the cases provided the clear extra evidence to support the claims and demonstrated Doxey’s pattern of offending,” the force said in a statement.
“The case was subsequently submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.”
Police blamed a backlog in forensic investigation for the delay in Doxey being prosecuted.
“During the investigation of the 2019 report there was a significant delay which was as a result of a backlog in the forensic investigation of devices seized from Doxey,” the statement said.
“These lines of enquiry were absolutely essential to the case.
“However, we absolutely understand the impact that delays have on victims and endeavour to update those involved as the enquiries continue.”
The three young women who spoke to the BBC all believe Doxey was trying to groom them into sexual activity when they were underage.
Although they did not have any physical sexual contact with him, the offences have had serious and lasting effects on all of them.
Bethany has moved away from where she grew up but still feels too scared to leave the house on her own, unless she has her protection dog with her.
Charlotte has severe issues with her body image, and has not been able to form a relationship in her adult life.
“I don’t trust that people aren’t trying to take advantage of me, like him,” she said.
“I just think it’s sexual all the time and that it’s power, and trying to take control of my vulnerability, because at such a young age that’s what happened and I’ve not been able to get out of that mindset.”
She also feels guilty because her complaint did not prevent him from targeting Daisy.
“It just feels horrible because it makes me feel like I should have done more, but there was nothing more I could have done,” she said.
“I can’t change what the police did, I can’t force the police to investigate further.”
As well as her suicide attempt, Daisy said what had happened had affected her education and future prospects.
“My learning just went really downhill,” she said.
“I did used to sometimes skip lessons if I had a male teacher because I just couldn’t go.
“I felt like I couldn’t trust them.
“I wouldn’t want to go back into education because it’s still going to affect me forever.”
Derbyshire Police said: “As a force we understand that the impact of crimes like those committed by Kevin Doxey can have a life-long impact on victims.
“We apologise that those affected by his crimes have not received the service they expected and we will be contacting them to understand how our service to future victims can be improved.
“As a force we take all reports of this nature seriously, no matter when they have occurred, and will investigate them thoroughly.”
Charlotte said she wanted to make it clear she did not blame the school for what had happened.
However, Bethany does feel the school was partly responsible.
“The school were supposed to be looking after us,” she said. “At the end of the day we were in their care at that time and they were not keeping us safe.”
She believes the school should have given them a way to talk to someone professionally, such as a counsellor or a teacher they could trust, and encouraged other pupils to come forward and tell someone what was happening.
Anthony Gell School said in a statement: “Keeping our students safe is at the centre of our work, and school leaders will not hesitate in responding decisively to any concern.
“As with all our members of staff, his recruitment had followed all of the nationally recognised safer recruitment protocols, and his induction had included all the necessary safeguarding training.
“We fully cooperated with and assisted in a detailed investigation, working closely with the police and safeguarding authorities.”