A SOLDIER from Emsworth who was part of an international paedophile ring has been spared jail as it could affect his Army career.
Daniel Bell, 27, a serving soldier living in military accommodation but previously of St James’ Road, Emsworth, was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
At a previous hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court, Bell was found guilty of attempting to distribute an indecent image of children and two of possession of indecent images of children.
For possessing 13 images, he was given two one-month jail terms, suspended for a year, to run concurrently with his four-month sentence.
The court was told an immediate jail sentence would automatically see him being discharged from the Army.
Judge Roger Hetherington said: I would certainly wish you to have the opportunity to stay in the Army if your superior officers consider that would be appropriate in your case.’
He said Bell had already spent three months on remand and this was equivalent to six months in prison.
Two other men who were part of the ring were sent to prison.
Marketing manager Mark Day, 45, formerly of Gosport but now living in Whitefriars Meadow, Sandwich, Kent, wept as he was jailed for three years. Shop assistant John Maddox, 46, of Ellis Avenue, Rainham, Essex, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
All were given sexual prevention orders and banned from working with children.
Day and Maddox will serve half their sentence in prison and serve the rest on licence.
Judge Hetherington said: An important part of the sentencing process in a case like this is to mark society’s revulsion to sexual offending against children and punish you for it.’
A jury found Day guilty of arranging a child sex offence. Maddox was found guilty of causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.
At the heart of the ring was Robert Hathaway and partner Melissa Noon, of Tyseley Road, Somers Town. They set up a website as a guise for meeting people who shared their depraved interests.
Melissa Noon, 30, of Tyseley Road, Somers Town, Portsmouth. Three counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, two of arranging a child sex offence and two of sexual assault of a child, one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to watch a sexual act and two counts of possession of indecent images. Two charges of child cruelty. Jailed for four years.
Robert Hathaway, 37, of Tyseley Road, Somers Town, Portsmouth. Two charges of rape of a child, four of sexual assault, 15 of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, one of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, three of arranging a child sex offence.
Two of distributing indecent images of a child, one of possessing prohibited images of children, four of making indecent photographs of children and 13 of possessing indecent photographs of children. Given an indeterminate prison sentence for public protection with a minimum of 12 years. Simon Hilton, 29, of Wolsey Road, Islington, London. Three of sexual assault of a child, two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, three of arranging a child sex offence, five of possession of indecent images of children and one of possession of extreme pornography. Jailed for four years.
Stephen Fraser, 42, of Hemingford Road, Cambridge Sexual assault of a child, two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, arranging a child sex offence, 19 of possessing indecent images of children, two of possessing extreme pornography and one of making an indecent image of a child. Jailed for four years. Lee Parson, 38, of Arundel Street, Landport, Portsmouth. Three counts of possessing indecent images of children, one of taking indecent images of children and one of arranging a child sex offence. Jailed for three years.
Jonathan Garner-Harris, 37, a deputy director of an outdoor activities centre, of Marrick Priory, Marrick, Richmond, North Yorkshire. Yet to be sentenced.