John / Sally Dixon

John Stephen Dixon / Sally Anne Dixon, a violent male who identifies as a transgender woman, was convicted at Lewes Crown Court in July 2022 of 30 offences of indecent assault or indecency with a child against seven victims. In September 2022, Dixon, 59, was sentenced to two consecutive nine-year sentences (i.e. 18 years in prison) and will not be eligible for parole for 12 years.

The Daily Mail reports that Dixon was also jailed for six months in 1997 for the sexual abuse of a teenage boy, but it was not until another victim came forward in 2019 that Dixon’s previous years of serial sexual offending came to light and Sussex Police reopened their investigation. During the trial Judge Van Der Zwart said opportunities to jail Dixon earlier had been missed.

Dixon was described in court as a “brazen and callous sexual predator”, having perpetrated a systematic campaign of sexual abuse against two boys and five girls lasting eight years during the eighties and nineties.

Media reports indicate that Dixon was sent to HMP Bronzefield, the female prison run by Sodexo, where other trans-identified violent male offenders have repeatedly had to be segregated/moved after being sexually aggressive towards vulnerable female prisoners who have no means of escaping such predators. Prison policy currently states that “all individuals who are transgender must be initially allocated to part of the estate which matches their legally recognised gender” – which in Dixon’s case is male, as Dixon does not have a gender recognition certificate (GRC), the document that confers the legal fiction of female sex. This indicates that the decision to locate Dixon in the female estate was taken while the prisoner was remanded, prior to trial/sentencing.

Detective Constable Amy Pooley of the Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit said: ‘Dixon came to know these vulnerable young children successively through family connections, and used that trusted access to systematically abuse each of them for sexual gratification, in some cases for several months at a time.

One of Dixon’s female victims said her childhood abuse left her feeling constant anxiety. “I was hoping he would do the right thing for once and not put me through the trial, but he didn’t,” she said. “He is a coward who did not give evidence. He was happy to put us through it but not himself.”

Mercifully, it appears that the court did not compel the victim to use her abuser’s pronouns and – for once – initial media coverage did not ascribe Dixon’s appalling catalogue of crimes against children to a woman. The police, however, are a different story and spent much of 27 September 2022 issuing thinly veiled threats and insinuating women were motivated by hate when they disputed Dixon being referred to as a woman. As one barrister pointed out, Dixon does not have a GRC so is a man, both in fact and in law.

In a (subsequently amended) press release reporting Dixon’s sentencing, Sussex Police referred to this violent predator as a woman and, when questioned, labelled Twitter users’ comments as ‘hateful’ and irrelevant – despite the vast majority (98%) of perpetrators of sexual abuse of children being male. As ever, the (objective) sex of the offender is relevant but their (subjective) self-declared gender identity is not. Sussex Police are ranked 49th in the Stonewall Top Employers’ List.

In 2021, The Argus revealed that more than a dozen allegations of sexual assault were made against serving police officers in Sussex over the past five years. Just in the past twelve months, male Sussex Police officers have been

  • Convicted of common assault for kicking a vulnerable 13 year old girl in custody – report
  • Arrested on suspicion of rape – report
  • Sacked for gross misconduct after sending a naked selfie to a female sex assault victim – report
  • Investigated for pepper spraying and firing a Taser at a 93-year-old man in a wheelchair, who subsequently died – report
  • Banned from the police for life for inappropriate sexual contact with a vulnerable woman and texting two others – report

Eventually, the Home Secretary stepped in to remind Sussex Police that catching criminals was more important than denying biology.

Sussex Police then deleted their various tweets calling women’s comments hateful and irrelevant, and issued a statement making clear that they “recognise the rights of the public to express themselves freely within the boundaries of the law.” Screenshots of some of the deleted tweets and their context are preserved below.

In subsequent coverage of the row, Karen Ingala Smith, CEO of women’s organisation nia and founder of the Femicide Census, commented that “The sex of the perpetrator certainly is not irrelevant in crimes of sexual violence against children, for example rates of perpetration differ hugely by sex. Moreover, if crimes committed by males are recorded as crimes by females then policy based on crime data will be hopeless.”

Subsequently, Sussex Police amended the press release title to remove the reference to Dixon as a woman.

*Update 30 September 2022*

The Daily Mail reports that shortly after arriving at women’s prison HMP Bronzefield, Dixon had to be moved after ‘starting a relationship with a vulnerable inmate with learning disabilities’ and had made inappropriate comments to some of the female prisoners, and possibly staff. Again and again, the safety of female prisoners at the Sodexo-run HMP Bronzefield is compromised by violent male offenders who identify as transgender – see the unnamed male murderer who recently had to be transferred after sexually pursuing a young female prisoner; the male rapist known as prisoner J who was accused of sexual assaulting a female prisoner at HMP Bronzefield; and the child rapist Martin Ponting who had to be segregated from the general population at HMP Bronzefield after making ‘unwanted advances’ i.e. sexually threatening female prisoners.

The article also revealed that some of the seven children Dixon abused had reported the crimes committed against them to police in the early 1990s, when the assaults were still taking place, but prosecutions did not proceed. Former neighbours are also quoted questioning Dixon’s transgender identity, saying ‘There was nothing to make us think he had become a woman. ‘He never wore a dress, he always wore joggers or jeans, and he never carried a handbag or anything like that. Yes, he had his hair in a ponytail, but lots of men do that, don’t they? And he spoke in a man’s deep voice.’

In 2019, a court heard there were 163 transgender prisoners in England and Wales, and 81 — half the total — had been convicted of sex offences. New Ministry of Justice statistics show that there were 197 transgender prisoners in 2021 and, of those, 157 are in male prisons, with 40 in female jails. All but five of the transgender prisoners in women’s jails reported their legal sex as male. The Times reports that the Justice Secretary is due to announce a new policy that gives ministers a veto on transferring trans-identified male prisoners in order to improve the protection of female prisoners.

Photo of John/Sally Anne Dixon: Eddie Mitchell via The Argus

Media reports

Daily Mail archive

Daily Mail archive

Daily Mail archive

BBC: Home Secretary criticises Sussex force for ‘policing pronouns’


Sky News archive

The Spectator archive

Sussex Live archive

The Argus archive

ITV News


Sussex Police press release