Farm worker at Bishop Burton College in East Yorkshire convicted of sexually assaulting students

A member of staff at Bishop Burton College in East Yorkshire has been convicted of sexually assaulting two students.

Keith Bailey, 56, of Dunswell Road, Cottingham, has now been jailed for 22 months at Grimsby Crown Court.

Bailey worked in a support role on the on-site farm at the land-based college near Beverley, but was suspended in 2018 when allegations first came to light and has now been formally dismissed from his post.

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Keith Bailey (photo: Humberside Police)

One of his victims, a young woman who has since completed her agriculture course, believes that the sentence received by Bailey, who had denied the offences, was too short.

"He was a stockman, so when we did practicals he taught us all sorts, from lambing a ewe to driving a tractor," she said.

"The college have been very distant from it all and haven’t supported me at all - but from the start they did say they would.

"I also think they may be other victims who haven’t come forward, and making this public hopefully will bring people out of the shadows.

"I’m very saddened by the sentence; I feel he got very lucky, especially when he kept pleading not guilty."

The second victim, who also studied agriculture, was just 17 when Bailey began targeting her and eventually had to drop out of her course.

She said: "I was a student at Bishop Burton for four years and he used to help me down on the farm, help me understand it a little better, help me learn to drive a tractor; then things got a bit weird with his behaviour towards me. He started asking weird questions about my sex life and so on.

"During a tractor lesson he asked me if he could touch my upper thigh.

"I started receiving texts and messages from him, asking for photos and other disturbing messages, wanting to come to where I lived and asking if he could take me for dinner.

"One one occasion he pulled my top down and tried touching my breasts; he often told my boyfriend at the time he was 'lucky' and that he had a stunner of a girlfriend.

"He once told me he had never received a connection with a student before like this.

"At the time I had no friends and he came to me once and said how sorry he felt for me and that this shouldn't happen to me, and how I should sit with him at lunch time so I wasn't on my own. He even got me out of practicals I didn't want to be in and got me onto the sheep farm instead.

"I was only 17 when it all started. I left college when I was 19 due to becoming too nervous to go to college, not wanting to go down to the farm or the lambing shed, or even wanting to bump into him. The college has never offered me any support, not even one phone call or even a message to tell me how sorry they were. I now feel so unsafe walking about, and it's affected me quite a bit. I'm unable to trust older men and I can't even do driving lessons due to having a male instructor.

"Having only got the time he got is disgusting as we've got to deal with it for the rest of our lives - he deserves more prison time. I hope he doesn't do it to anybody else."

Bishop Burton principal Bill Meredith said: "A court case against a previous staff member at Bishop Burton College concluded with a sentencing hearing at Grimsby Crown Court. The college would like to commend the bravery of those who came forward to enable this case to come to trial. The college offered to support the victims along with the police in this matter. The college deeply regrets the distress caused to the students involved.

"The staff member was suspended from the college in December 2018, when the incidents were first reported. The staff member never returned to work after this date.

"Normal rigorous employment checks were undertaken on the staff member when they were recruited. Subsequent training and updates on safeguarding were provided by the college. In spite of these measures, the incidents reported occurred and, as a result, the college has reviewed all aspects of the safeguarding systems and taken external advice. The college has co-operated with the police and local authority throughout and will continue to prioritise the welfare and safety for all who attend the college."