Eight In Court Charged Over Child Abuse

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

The eight defendants face a total of 113 charges at Portsmouth Crown Court including sexual assault of children aged under 13 and making and distributing indecent photos of children.

Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, told the court the case involved the alleged abuse of two children aged under 13.

It also involved indecent photos being distributed over the internet and 2,000 pages of internet chatlogs dating between 2008 and 2010, the court heard.

Miss Maylin said:

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

She added:

"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 eight defendants were remanded in custody by Judge Roger Hetherington until May 23 when pleas to the charges are expected to be heard.

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

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.

The charges against Hathaway include offences of sexual assault against two children aged under 13 and making indecent images of children.

Noon's charges include offences of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

The charges against Hilton include indecent assault of a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The offences faced by Parson include facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and abetting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Fraser's charges include making indecent images of children and engaging in sexual activity in front of a child.

The charges Day faces include abetting the rape of a child and Maddox's charges include causing a child to engage in sexual activity and abetting the rape of a boy.

Bell's charges include abetting the sexual assault of children and possessing and distributing photos of children.