Torquay man jailed for string of sexual offences against children

Stephen Cox, 44, from Torquay, was found guilty at Exeter Crown Court in May. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

A Torquay man has been jailed for seven counts of sexual offences against children.

Stephen Cox, 44, of Hillesdon Road, Torquay, was found guilty at Exeter Crown Court in May.

Today, Monday 3 July, he received nine years in prison plus five years on extended licence.

He was convicted of the following offences:

  • Two counts of sexual assault of a child under thirteen years

  • Three counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child

  • One count of causing or inciting a child under thirteen years to engage in sexual activity

  • A count of sexual assault of a child under thirteen years

He will be put on the Sex Offenders Register and issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, both for life.

The offences happened in the 2010s at a property in North Devon and involved two victims.

Following a full and protracted investigation by detectives, Cox was summonsed to court in 2022 and his trial was held in May 2023, at Exeter Crown Court.

The jury found Cox guilty on all seven counts and he was granted conditional bail prior to today’s sentencing.

Detective Constable Terry Hodgson, who led the investigation, said: “We welcome today’s sentence.

“It is an extremely positive outcome for the victims in this case who have suffered significant sexual abuse. The outcome today is a testament to their bravery.

“Their incredible courage in reporting this matter and supporting a prosecution has resulted in bringing this offender to justice.

“This is an important reminder that such reports will always be taken seriously by the police and justice will be sought. We would always encourage victims to come forward.”

He went on to say: “Sexual assaults have a devastating impact on victims and Devon & Cornwall Police are committed to working the criminal justice system to make our communities safer.”

Anyone who may have been affected by anything raised in this article can contact police via their website by calling 101.

The freephone NSPCC helpline 0808 800 5000 is available for anyone to report or seek advice about non-recent abuse. Calls can be made anonymously.

If you require help or assistance relating to sexual abuse, please look at the below list of helplines:

  • National Rape Crisis Helpline: 0808 802 9999

  • Devon and Cornwall Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC): 0300 3034626

  • Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Independent Sexual Advisor Service: 03458 121212

  • Victim Care Unit: 01392 475900

  • Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services: 01392 204 174

First Light is an independent charity supporting people in Cornwall, Devon and Wiltshire who have been affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

In an emergency, always call 999 and in a non-emergency please visit the police website