Pair in child sex gang fail in conviction appeal

CONVICTED Mark Day, left, and Daniel Bell
CONVICTED Mark Day, left, and Daniel Bell
Vicky Beckett back in her car after it had been professionally cleaned     

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TWO members of an international paedophile ring that was based in Portsmouth have failed in their bid to overturn their convictions.

But a third has won the right to a hearing to consider reducing his sentence.

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 Sandwich, Kent, was jailed for three years after being found guilty of arranging a child sex offence.

He hoped to appeal his conviction and failing that, have his sentence reduced but a judge at the Court of Appeal rejected both applications.

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.

His bid to overturn the jury’s verdict was also thrown out by the appeal judge.

Bell’s former partner was relieved at the judge’s decision.

The woman, who does not want to be named to protect her children, said: ‘I’m happy because he is going to have to deal with what he has done now.

‘All the way along he has denied doing anything wrong.

‘The sentence was pathetic so I’m glad they’re not going to reduce it.’

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. A spokesman for the Judicial Office said a date had not been set for his appeal hearing.

Married father-of-two Day, who was a successful marketing manager, and Bell, a serving soldier 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 realised they had uncovered a 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.