UPDATE: Jury in Portsmouth-based paedophile ring trial has been sent home

TRIAL Portsmouth Crown Court
TRIAL Portsmouth Crown Court

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THE jury in the trial of a woman and four men accused of being at the centre of an international paedophile ring has been sent home after a day of considering their verdicts.

The five were allegedly part of a gang that abused children and shared photos and videos of the abuse online. 

Unemployed Melissa Noon, 30, of Tyseley Road, Somers Town, Portsmouth faces 12 charges, dating back to between May 22, 2008 and December 9, 2010.

She is accused of 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, 27, a serving soldier living in military accommodation but previously of St James Road, Emsworth, faces five counts, all between the same dates.

He is accused of 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. 

Married marketing manager Mark Day, 45, formerly of Gosport but now living in Whitefriars Meadow, Sandwich, Kent, faces two counts of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

Self employed IT consultant Simon Hilton, 29, of Wolsey Road, Islington, London, faces one count of arranging or facilitating the commission a child sex offence between the same dates.

He had already pleaded guilty to 13 charges, including sexual assault of a child and causing a child to engage in sexual activity. Shop assistant John Maddox, 46, of Ellis Avenue, Rainham, Essex, faces one charge, from October 8, last year, of causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity. 

Maddox had already pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of indecent photographs of children. 

The trial at Portsmouth Crown Court has heard that Noon and her partner Robert Hathaway, 36, set up a nudist website as a way of meeting other paedophiles.

It is alleged they enticed others to come to Portsmouth and abuse two children.

Hathaway has already pleaded guilty to more than 40 offences.

The jury has now spent just under nine hours deliberating since being sent out yesterday.