A MARRIED man accused of being part of a paedophile ring has admitted leading a double life.
Father-of-two Mark Day told a jury at Portsmouth Crown Court how he repeatedly talked to men on a gay dating website and met up with one for sex as an ‘escape’.
But the 45-year-old marketing manager has insisted that while he spoke online about wanting to abuse a child he never planned to go through with it.
Day, who worked for a marine company in Portsmouth until last year, is on trial along with four others accused of being part of the ring.
He is alleged to have tried to arrange to abuse a child with Robert Hathaway, 36, of Tyseley Road, Somers Town, Portsmouth, who has already pleaded guilty to more than 40 offences.
Asked by Maria Lamb, defending, about a chatlog that showed he had talked about child abuse, Day, formerly of Gosport but now living in Whitefriars Meadow, Sandwich, Kent, said: ‘I look at it and I can’t believe it was me that wrote this.
‘It’s vile, it’s horrific. At the time I was under a lot of pressure and stress and this was an escape.
‘I would step into this parallel world of the internet. I could be someone who I wasn’t.’
He said he thought the child was a fictional character Hathaway had created as part of their sexual role-play.
Chatlogs showed Day had suggested meeting up with Hathaway and a child at Langstone Harbour but he insisted he had no plans of going through with it.
Day admitted asking Hathaway to send him photos of a child but claimed it was because he was checking that it was a fictional character.
‘If he had sent me pictures it would have been horrific and I would have taken action,’ he said.
Day said that he had had gay relationships since he was a teenager and after he married in 2003 he continued to use a dating website.
He told the court his wife had lost triplets in 2008. After that he met a man online, using pseudonym of Peter Harris, and they had sex.
Melissa Noon, 30, of Tyseley Road, Somers Town, Portsmouth; Simon Hilton, 29, of Wolsey Road, Islington, London; Daniel Bell, 27 of St James Road, Emsworth and John Maddox, 47, of Ellis Avenue, Rainham, Essex, all deny charges relating to the sexual abuse of children.
· Melissa Noon denies 12 charges, dating between May 2008 and December 2010.
She is charged with three counts of causing a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity, three of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and two of sexual assault of a child under 13. Noon is also charged with inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to watch a sexual act and two counts of possession of indecent images of children.
· Daniel Bell is facing two counts of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, attempting to distribute an indecent image of children and two of possession of indecent photographs of children.
· Simon Hilton is facing one count of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.
· Mark Day is facing two counts of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.
· John Maddox is facing one charge of causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.