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Norwich child abuse ring woman’s appeal fails

PUBLISHED: 19:48 02 November 2016 | UPDATED: 19:48 02 November 2016

Marie Black. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Marie Black. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A woman serving a life sentence for her sickening part in a child sex abuse ring has failed in an Appeal Court bid to clear her name.

A woman serving a life sentence for her sickening part in a child sex abuse ring has failed in an Appeal Court bid to clear her name.

Marie Black was involved in the “utterly depraved” paedophile gang, which saw five young victims abused over a 10-year period.

The 35-year-old, of Norwich, was found guilty of 23 charges, including rape and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, at Norwich Crown Court in July last year.

She was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 12 years behind bars before she can apply for parole.

Black, of Atkinson Close, launched a bid to overturn her convictions today, with her lawyers arguing they were “unsafe”.

They claimed that her trial legal team had “pressurised and railroaded” her into not giving evidence in her own defence.

But her complaints have now been thrown out by three senior judges sitting at the Court of Appeal, in London.

They ruled that her trial was fair and the evidence against her “overwhelming”.

The judges also rejected appeals by two of her accomplices, Jason Adams, of Aspland Road, Norwich, and Michael Leslie Rogers.

Adams, 45, also from Norwich, was found guilty of 13 counts, while Rogers, 48, of Romford, east London, was convicted of 14 similar charges.

The dangerous pair were handed extended sentences for public protection, each made up of a 24-year jail term and an extended licence of six years.

Black claimed her trial lawyers had put her under pressure not to enter the witness box when she was in a “fragile state of mind”.

But they rejected her claims, insisting it was made “absolutely clear” to Black that the decision whether or not to testify was hers alone.

Mr Justice Spencer said the court was “not remotely persuaded” there was anything negligent or improper in her trial lawyers’ handling of the case.

He added: “Quite the reverse, from everything we have heard and read it is apparent that they valiantly and skilfully defended her in accordance with the best traditions of the bar.

“It follows that neither individually nor cumulatively is there any arguable basis for suggesting that these convictions are unsafe.”

The judge, sitting with the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, and Mrs Justice Simler, added: “In truth, the evidence against Black was overwhelming.”

Dismissing challenges brought by Adams and Rogers, the judge said the court was “satisfied” they had no arguable grounds of appeal.

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