Woman accused over child abuse weeps as mum gives evidence

Scot Mackenzie

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A WOMAN accused of being part of an international paedophile ring changed in her behaviour before her arrest, her mum told a jury.

Melissa Noon wept in the dock as her mother Deborah Gover gave evidence about her and partner Robert Hathaway, 36, who met each other on a dating website.

Asked how Noon had been in the months before her arrest, Mrs Gover, who herself broke down at Portsmouth Crown Court, said: ‘She appeared to be quiet where as before she had been very outgoing.

‘If I asked her to come out she would say that she had to ask Rob, whereas she hadn’t done previously. She had mentioned to me that the relationship between her and Rob was breaking down.’

Noon and Hathaway are accused of repeatedly abusing two children and encouraging others to do the same.

Hathaway, formerly a security guard at Portsmouth’s Cascades shopping centre, has admitted more than 40 offences including rape and sexual assault while Noon, 30, and four other men are on trial, having denied 20 charges in total.

The jury has heard the paedophile ring stretched to Australia, where a third child is also alleged to have been abused. The couple allegedly shared photographs and videos of the abuse with others online.

The prosecution say they started out using a nudist website before setting up their own web community which they ran from their flat in Tyseley Road, Somers Town, Portsmouth, as a guise for the abuse.

Noon is one of four defendants on trial. Mark Day, 45, formerly of Gosport but now of Whitefriars Meadow, Sandwich, Kent, Daniel Bell, 27, a serving soldier living in military accommodation but previously of St James Road, Emsworth, Simon Hilton, 29, of Wolsey Road, Islington, London, and John Maddox, 47, of Ellis Avenue, Rainham, Essex, all deny charges relating to the sexual abuse of children and possession of indecent images.

Stephen Fraser, 41, of Hemingford Road, Cambridge, has admitted sexual assault of a child aged under 13 and causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.