Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth paedophile ring: Four found guilty

From left: Daniel Bell, Mark Day and John Maddox
Image caption Daniel Bell, Mark Day and John Maddox had all denied the charges against them

A woman who ran an international paedophile ring with her partner has been convicted, along with four men.

Melissa Noon, 30, and Robert Hathaway, 36, of Hampshire, set up a nudist forum website as cover for the "shocking" sex abuse of two children aged under 13.

Four other men linked to the abuse network were also found guilty of child sex offences at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Noon, Simon Hilton, Daniel Bell, Mark Day, and John Maddox had denied the offences. Hathaway admitted 45 charges.

Twister game

Police seized thousands of indecent images of children and videos of abuse.

The court heard how Noon and ringleader Hathaway, 36, both of Tyseley Road, Portsmouth, used the internet to discuss the abuse of children with some of the other defendants and arranged to meet some of them to carry out further sexual assaults on their young victims.

The abuse included rape, attempted rape and the use of sex aids and police seized more than 20 of these from Noon and Hathaway, the jury heard.

The children were also made to engage in naked wrestling and play the game Twister in the nude.

Over a period of two years, the couple also used their nudist website to distribute indecent photos and videos of children.

Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, said the abuse had involved "like-minded people" around the world.

Hampshire police were tipped off by the authorities in Australia in December last year after police there uncovered a "mirror image" ring, in which a young child was also abused.

Child rapes admitted

Hathaway had been in contact with this ring and shared images with them. One of the charges faced by Noon was her encouraging the Australian child to engage in sexual activity.

Noon's convictions included three charges of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, one of causing a child to watch a sexual act, two of sexual assault of a child, two of arranging a child sex offence, one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and two of possessing indecent photographs of children.

Hilton, 29, of Wolsey Road, London, was convicted of one charge of arranging a child sex offence.

Day, 45, of Whitefriars Meadow, Sandwich, Kent, was found guilty of one charge of arranging a child sex offence.

Bell, 27, a serving soldier, of Emsworth, was found guilty of two charges of possessing indecent photos of children and one of attempting to distribute an indecent image of children. He was found not guilty of two charges of arranging a child sex offence.

Maddox, 46, of Ellis Avenue, Rainham, Essex, was convicted of a charge of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Released on bail

The trial heard that Hathaway had previously pleaded guilty to 45 offences, including the rape and sexual assault of two children under the age of 13 and possessing indecent images of children.

Another three men have also already pleaded guilty to their part in the paedophile ring.

Stephen Fraser, 41, of Hemingford Road, Cambridge, admitted 27 charges, including sexual assault of a child, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, engaging in sexual activity in front of a child, arranging a child sex offence and possessing indecent images of children.

Lee Parson, 38, of Arundel Street, Portsmouth, pleaded guilty to arranging a child sex offence, possessing indecent photos of children and taking indecent photos of children.

Jonathan Garner-Harris, 37, a teacher, who lived at Marrick Priory, Marrick, North Yorkshire, was investigated by Durham police and admitted at Durham Crown Court 20 offences, including inciting a child sex offence and 17 counts relating to indecent photos of children.

The judge adjourned the case until 19 December for sentencing, with Bell, Maddox and Day likely to be sentenced separately on a date to be set in January.

He remanded Noon and Hilton in custody and released Bell, Maddox and Day on bail.

All defendants were ordered to sign the sex offenders register.

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