People thought dad was a hero firefighter but at home he was abusing us

Gay Melrose was just 10 years old when she walked in on her father raping her younger brother Mark during a family holiday. At that point, she had already been enduring sexual abuse and rape by him for two years, while Mark was only six. Their biological father, Brian Doye, subjected his children to a decade-long reign of terror.

In Gay's case he would leave notes under her pillow telling her he would visit her that night, he told her "all father's do this to their daughters" and threatened to have her killed if she told anybody. Alongside the sexual abuse, he beat Mark every day, reports WalesOnline.

To the outside world, Brian Doye was a pillar of the community. He was a senior firefighter in London, had planned to stand as a councillor, and had put himself forward as a foster carer. But behind closed doors he was running a "house of horrors". The abuse on his two children only stopped when they left home aged 16 and 18.

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After they fled his abuse, Gay now 56 and Mark 53, didn't see their father again until April 2024 this year when they faced him in Swansea Crown Court. Almost five decades after he abused his children, in 2021 a third victim came forward to report Doye for sexual abuse. From here, police tracked down Gay and Mark who also decided to report their father for the horrific abuse he had inflicted on them.

They said the "immense guilt" that they did not report the abuse in the 1970s when it was happening and the feeling they could have stopped this happening to other people led them to come forward. The siblings have waived their right to automatic anonymity to tell their story as they believe there are likely more victims of Doye.

In a sentencing on May 24, the court heard the offending began in the mid-1970s and continued until the early 2020s and involved two girls and a boy. Doye, who was living in Ystalyfera at the time of his arrest was sentenced to 30-years in jail for 27 counts of raping a child, attempting to rape a child, buggery of a child, attempted buggery of a child, indecent assault of a child, sexual assault of a child, possessing indecent images, making indecent images, and voyeurism. As a result, the 77-year-old will likely die in prison.

Police custody photograph of Biran Doye
Paedophile Brian Doye was given a special 30 year sentence as an offender of particular concern -Credit:South Wales Police

Judge Catherine Richards said the defendant had lived into his 70s with "a cloak of respectability" and had manipulated those around him while the reality was he was an "entrenched paedophile" who posed a danger to young children. The judge said Doye had destroyed his victims' childhoods but it was a testament to their strength that they had survived.

Gay, Mark and the third victim (who is anonymous for legal reasons) did survive the horrific abuse at the hands of Doye but describe how their lives have been completely changed as a result of his abuse.

Gay who now lives in Kent, and Mark who lives in Cambridgeshire say the abuse "ate us from the inside out". They described how the abuse led them to treat their own children differently, with Mark saying it felt "wrong" to bathe and change the nappies of his own children. Gay said when her daughter was born she found it difficult to let her husband look after her.

Doye's reign spanned nearly five decades between the victims who reported him and as a result Gay and Mark say they feel there could be other potentially unreported crimes committed by their father. They have decided to waive their legal right in a bid to raise awareness, and also plan on setting up a helpline charity to help others.

Mark was absued by his father Brian Doye -Credit:Gay Melrose
Mark was absued by his father Brian Doye -Credit:Gay Melrose

"We always should've done it [reported it] but didn't do it. We have immense guilt that if we had said something earlier another victim wouldn't have happened, or you hope it wouldn't, it was a horrible feeling," said Mark who now had two daughters and a step daughter of his own.

"We decided we had to because he's done it again and he's probably done it lots of times in between. We should've done something years ago to stop this happening. One of the reasons we want our names out there is because we want to set up a helpline or charity to get people to come out because we buried it and it ate us from the inside out. It destroys your life, your mind, your self."

Mark was first raped by his father aged six after his sister escaped his clutches. Doye was about to sexually assault her when Mark walked into the room, Gay was then able to escape but while she was gone their father turned on Mark.

Describing the abuse Mark said, "When I got raped in the caravan she walked in. I was around six when it started. With our childhood it sort of became the norm and when you're that age you don't really realise it's wrong and when you get a bit older you don't know any different.

Siblings Mark and Gay now as adults -Credit:Gay Melrose
Siblings Mark and Gay now as adults -Credit:Gay Melrose

"I think I was probably around 15 when it stopped. I've blocked a lot of it out but obviously so I don't know how many times it happened. I remember key points where he would sexually abuse me in other ways. In terms of the physical abuse, he would beat me nearly every day. So that's when he broke my ribs, snapped my fingers, cracked my head, did so much to me."

Mark said that while he and Gay were aware in some sense that each was being abused they didn't talk about it to each other, or report it. Mark said he only found out lots of what had happened to his older sister when it came out in court.

"He was a high ranking firefighter, a councillor, we wouldn't be believed anyway. We just didn't talk about it. It wasn't until we were a bit older when I was 19 and tried to kill myself. I was put in a mental health ward when I was 19. I knew what he did to my sister to a point but I didn't know the whole extent of it until we were in court."

Almost four decades since he escaped his father, Mark says the abuse still affects him and he has been left with complicated emotions after the two week trial which convicted Doye.

"It was [the trial] probably the second worst time of my life. Because you're there with this massive amount of guilt that this other victim is there, hearing what he did to my sister and then you're being told you are a liar by his defence who is just doing his job. It was all just a blurr what was going on.

"But now, we have survivor's guilt. Guilt that we have put someone inside. It's just a horrible horrible feeling. In the court I started looking over at Doye and everything, it destroyed me emotionally, I completely broke down and couldn't go back in. He was just staring at me and It was the stare of 'how dare you, how dare you put me here'. One minute you're ok, the next you're not. You're left untrusting, emotional all the time, it leaves you with survivor guilt.

"Having children affected me massively. I couldn't change the girls' nappies because it felt wrong, I couldn't bathe them, I cannot get myself to do it. Because of what's happened and knowing what he did to my sister it just felt so wrong. So he's stripped that part of my children's lives from me."

Mark says he feels especially strong about waivering his right to anonymity because he is a man and says there is serious under-reporting of sexual abuse by men.

"It's such a small number of men who come forward having been abused as children. It doesn't feel like you're a man when you say it. You get emotional and it's suddenly 'you don't feel like a man' or anything like that." He hopes by founding a charity and help line it will also help with the financial burden of attending court as a victim.

"The first week of the trial the CPS funded it because obviously we were victims but not the second week and the second week we had to go back to support the other family.

"And then when we had to go back last friday for the sentencing, they funded the hotel but didn't fund anything for our partners for support. So we want to set this up for people who physically can't get there."

Gay aged around 12 or 13 while the abuse was ongoing -Credit:Gay Melrose
Gay aged around 12 or 13 while the abuse was ongoing -Credit:Gay Melrose

While Gay is also battling feelings of guilt that had they reported what had been happening to them sooner they feel they could've protected other victims, she says she also feels guilt for not being able to protect her younger brother.

Now 56 with three children of her own and three grandchildren, Gay says she was raped by her father once or twice a month by Doye from the age of eight to 16. She said she first confided in a friend about what had happened to her ten years ago, after four decades of bottling it up.

She said, "The thing is, especially back in the 70s and 80s there wasn't anything out there like the media and internet and he would say things like 'all fathers do it to their daughters' and he would also say things like if I told anyone he would get me killed. I only told my best friend ten years ago and she was my school friend.

"I can't remember the grooming but he started to rape me at eight years old. Most of our childhood we can't remember, only certain bits. It went on until I was 16, he would've continued until I was 18 and left home but I had gotten a bit bigger by then and could fight him off."

Gay says the rapes became a "regular" thing and due to her age was unable to process her emotions. "I knew I didn't like it and it felt wrong, and obviously I was in a lot of pain, but I don't think I had any feelings. The first time he did it was on the marital bed.

"I remember certain things like he would write notes and put them under my pillow saying he would be in that evening. It became part of the normal in the end."

Even though she was just 10-years-old when she realised her brother was also being abused, she felt she had to take it on herself to protect him.

"My little brother was raped when he was 6 years old. I was being raped on the bed and he walked in and I managed to get away and I don't remember much but when I went back in he was raping him. From then on I knew I had to take the rapes to stop my brother being raped. I think now how did I know to do that at that age. I feel sad and guilty and still do for my brother. I walked out for that moment and he abused him."

Several years ago Gay did disclose the abuse to a councillor who then reported it to the police. However, Gay was not able to face trial at the time. When this third victim reported it and tracked Gay down she knew she wanted Doye to see jail.

Gay now aged 56
Gay now aged 56

"We feel so guilty for his most recent victim. We had to get the justice we needed and the justice they needed. It was horrendous. The trial itself destroyed me. So much so me and Mark said if he had gotten away with it we wouldn't have come home. It was horrible and brought all these things back up.

"I'm still numb by the whole thing. When [the verdict] comes out you think you'll be jumping up cheering or crying but really it's just numb. When I'm talking about it it's like I'm telling a story about someone else."

Reading out her victim personal statement in court, Gay addressed the final part at Doye directly, who she says showed no emotion or accountability despite being found guilty.

"The way he looked and stared as if to say 'you're going to pay for this'. The last bit was just read to him and there was no emotions, nothing. You're talking about the most horrendous things and he's sitting there with absolutely no emotions.

"I'm glad he's gone down now I don't know what wouldve happened if he hadn't. But that's it now, his life stops now. We've done something we never thought would happen.

Like Mark, Gay says that she feels there may be more victims out there and wants to raise awareness. "We know there is going to be other victims out there because he hasn't gone from the 70s/80s to the 2000s without anything inbetween so we know there is more and we hope this will bring other victims forward. That was his sexual preference. He was never going to change.

"He was living a double life. Like Mark calls it it was like a house of horrors, nobody knew what was going on before closed doors. We've done something we never thought would happen. I'm hoping in a few weeks I can get back to concentrating on getting my life back together and helping others."

Speaking after the sentence South Wales Police detective inspector Sharon Gill-Lewis said: "I hope that the sentence Brian Doye has received will give his victims some closure after all these years. His behaviour towards his victims over several years has been disgraceful; he clearly thought he could get away with his actions.

"I would like to pay tribute to all the victims in this case, who have shown incredible strength and courage throughout this investigation and trial. We are robust in our stance against sexual offences, and today’s verdict sends a clear message that we will bring to justice those who sexually abuse and exploit children.

"South Wales Police remains committed to tackling all forms of sexual abuse and have specially trained officers who are assigned to each case. We work alongside our partner agencies to support those effected by this type of abuse, and I would encourage anyone to report abuse in any form to police. All reports will be thoroughly investigated."

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