Jury Considers Verdict In Child Abuse Case

31 October 2011, 13:59 | Updated: 31 October 2011, 14:08

A jury has retired to consider its verdicts in the trial of a woman and four men accused of being members of an international paedophile ring.

The five defendants, who include a serving soldier, are facing a range of charges at Portsmouth Crown Court including the sexual assault of children and making and distributing indecent photos of children.

The case centres around Melissa Noon, 29, of Tyseley Road, Portsmouth, and her partner Robert Hathaway who set up a nudist website as a guise to distribute indecent photos and videos of children and to arrange meetings with other people to abuse youngsters.

Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, told the trial that the paedophile ring sexually assaulted and abused two children, both under 13.

Noon faces a range of charged including: two of sexual assault of a child, three of arranging a child sex offence and two of possessing indecent photographs of children.

Simon Hilton, 28, of Wolsey Road, London, faces a charge of arranging a child sex offence.

Mark Day, 45, of Whitefriars Meadow, Sandwich, Kent, faces two charges of arranging a child sex offence.

Daniel Bell, 26, a serving soldier living in military accommodation but previously of St James Road, Emsworth, Hampshire, faces two charges of arranging a child sex offence, two of possessing indecent photos of children and one of attempting to distribute an indecent image of children.

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

The trial has heard that Hathaway, 36, of Tyseley Road, Portsmouth, has previously pleaded guilty to 26 counts of sexual behaviour towards children, including rape, and 17 counts of possessing indecent images of children.