Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Eight charged over worldwide child sex abuse ring

A woman and seven men have appeared in court charged with being involved in a worldwide internet child abuse ring.

The defendants face a total of 113 charges including rape and sexual assault of children aged under 13.

They are from Hampshire, London, Cambridge, Kent and Essex and are also charged with making and distributing indecent photos of children.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the case involved the alleged abuse of two children aged under 13.

All eight defendants were remanded in custody until a plea and charges hearing on 23 May.

International investigation

Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, told the court the case also involved indecent photos being distributed over the internet and 2,000 pages of internet chat logs dating between 2008 and 2010.

Miss Maylin said: "This stems from an international investigation into allegations of rape and serious sexual assault against young children and the passing and distribution of photos and other chatlogs.

"There has been an international element, both Australia and America and many other European countries, which has caused the investigation to take a substantial amount of time."

The defendants are Melissa Noon, 29, and Robert Hathaway, 36, of Tyseley Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Also charged are Simon Hilton, 28, of Wolsey Road, London; Lee Parson, 37, of Arundel Street, Portsmouth; Stephen Fraser, 41, of Hemingford Road, Cambridge; Mark Day, 45, of Whitefriars Meadow, Sandwich, Kent; Daniel Bell, 26, of St James Road, Emsworth, Hampshire; and John Maddox, 46, of Ellis Avenue, Rainham, Essex.

Mr Hathaway faces charges of rape and sexual assault against two children and making indecent images of children.

Ms Noon faces charges including offences of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

The others face charges including indecent assault of a child, abetting the rape of a child, inciting, causing and abetting a child to engage in sexual activity, facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, making indecent images of children, possessing and distributing photos of children and engaging in sexual activity in front of a child.

A trial, to last up to eight weeks, is expected to start on 26 September.

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