Five Guilty In Paedophile Ring Trial

A woman and four men have been found guilty of offences relating to an international paedophile ring.

Melissa Noon, from Portsmouth, and the four other defendants, including serving soldier 27-year-old Daniel Bell, previously from Hampshire, were convicted of 16 charges at Portsmouth Crown Court.

The offences related to the abuse of two young children by the ring which used a nudist website as a guise for their perversions.

Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, told the trial that Noon and her partner Robert Hathaway, also from Portsmouth, were at the centre of the international paedophile ring which abused two British children under 13.

Noon was found guilty of 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.

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

Mark Day, 45, of Whitefriars Meadow, Sandwich, Kent, was found guilty of one charge of arranging a child sex offence. The judge had ordered a not guilty verdict to be ordered on a second similar charge against Day.

Bell, a serving soldier living in military accommodation but previously of St James Road in 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.

John Maddox, 47, of Ellis Avenue, Rainham, Essex, was convicted of a charge of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

The final charge against Noon, of arranging a child sex offence, was ordered to lie on file by Judge Roger Hetherington after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

He adjourned the case until December 19 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.

He ordered the defendants to sign the sex offenders register.

Julian Wooster, director of children's services at Portsmouth City Council, said after the case:

"We have worked closely with the police on this case and ensuring the safety of children was and will always be our top priority.''