Paedophile ring pair to appeal their convictions

APPEAL Daniel Bell, left, and Mark Day
APPEAL Daniel Bell, left, and Mark Day
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TWO members of an international paedophile ring that was based in Portsmouth are trying to overturn their convictions while a third hopes to get his sentence reduced, The News can reveal.

Mark Day, Daniel Bell and Jonathan Garner-Harris were convicted of being part of a vile gang that abused children and shared photos and videos of the abuse around the world.

Day, formerly of Gosport, now of Whitefriars Meadow, Sandwich, Kent, was jailed for three years after being found guilty of arranging a child sex offence.

If his bid to appeal his conviction fails he still hopes to reduce his sentence.

Internet chat logs recovered by the police showed Day had talked online to the group’s leader, Robert Hathaway, and planned to meet up to abuse a child.

Bell, 27, of St James Road, Emsworth, was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, for attempting to distribute an indecent image of children and two counts of possessing indecent images of children after police found material on his laptop.

Garner-Harris, 37, of Marrick Priory, Marrick, Richmond, North Yorkshire, was jailed for four years with an extended licence period of six years after admitting three charges of inciting a child sex offence and 17 charges of possessing, making and distributing indecent photos of children.

He also spoke to Hathaway online and encouraged him to abuse children.

A spokeswoman for the Judicial Office said: ‘Mark Day and Daniel Bell have both lodged applications for leave to appeal their convictions and Day has also lodged an application for leave to appeal his sentence too.

‘Jonathan Garner-Harris has also lodged an application for leave to appeal his sentence.’

A judge at the Court of Appeal in London will now look at their arguments and consider any grounds for an appeal.

The judge will then decide whether the cases can go before the Court of Appeal.

It is expected to take a couple of months before the three men learn whether they can appeal.

Married father-of-two Day, who was a successful marketing manager, Bell, a serving soldier and Garner-Harris, deputy director of a children’s activity centre, were all told to sign on to the sex offenders’ register after being convicted.

Day and Bell were found guilty after a six-week trial at Portsmouth Crown Court while Garner-Harris pleaded guilty.

Hampshire police started their investigation into the ring, which was controlled by Hathaway and his partner Melissa Noon from their flat in Somers Town, after being tipped off by authorities in Australia, who had uncovered a ‘mirror image’ paedophile ring.

A total of 2,000 pages of chat logs were uncovered by police, as well as 14,000 indecent images of children and 300 videos of children being abused.

Ringleaders serving longer jail terms

THE attempted appeals come just a week after three members of the gang had their prison terms increased.

The Crown Prosecution Service took the unusual step of appealing their sentences for being too soft.

The Court of Appeal extended their sentences.

Robert Hathaway, 37, of Tyseley Road, Somers Town, Portsmouth, had been given an indeterminate sentence and was told he would serve at least six years in December.

But that was increased to a life sentence with a minimum of 10 years.

His partner Melissa Noon, 30, who received four years, had her sentence doubled and was given eight years.

The third member of the group, Simon Hilton, 29, of Wolsey Road, Islington, north London, who was orginally jailed for four years with an extended licence period of six years, was given eight years in custody with five on licence.

Three others have been sentenced in relation to the ring.

They are: Lee Parson, 38, of Arundel Street, Landport, who was jailed for three years; Stephen Fraser, 42, of Hemingford Road, Cambridge, who was sentenced to four years with an extended licence period of six years and John Maddox, 47, of Ellis Avenue, Rainham, Essex, who was jailed for two-and-a-half years.