Islington paedophile jailed

A child abuser who was part of an international paedophile ring was jailed on Tuesday.

Simon Hilton, of Wolsey Road, Newington Green, was sentenced to four years in prison with an extended licence period of six years, after he was one of five people found to be part of a Portsmouth-based child abuse network with global connections.

Summing up at Portsmouth Crown Court, Judge Roger Hetherington said the case involved “systematic and continuous sexual abuse of the worst sort.”

He told Hilton he had acted to satisfy his “selfish” needs and added: “You had an utterly warped sense of what might be acceptable to a child.”

The 29-year-old graphic designer met ringleader Robert Hathaway online and visited the port city twice in 2010, during which time he abused a child. Hathaway, 37, and girlfriend Melissa Noon, both of Tyseley Road, Portsmouth, had used a nudist website as a front to attract other paedophiles.

The grim network was discovered after a tip-off by Australian police that linked a registered sex-offender with the pair.

The subsequent investigation spanned continents, reaching as far as America, Japan, Australia and seven European countries.

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The evidence included more than 14,000 images and 300 videos of children being abused

Detective Inspector Victoria Dennis, from Hampshire Police, said: “It is one of the most horrific incidents of child abuse I have ever investigated and revolved around what I can only describe as an international paedophile ring involving 35 suspects in total.”

In mitigation, Hilton’s barrister Andrew Turton said the paedophile was suffering from depression following a break-up and felt sick over what he had done.

Mr Turton said Hilton worked from home and that his life revolved around the internet, adding: “He was living a virtual life in a virtual world”

He was sentenced for three counts 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 possesion of extreme pornography.

He was found guilty of one charge and admitted a host of others. He was also given a sexual offences prevention order.

He appeared in court alongside four others including Hathawayand Noon, 30, who were sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of 12 years and four years respectively.