Marie Black, 34, was jailed for life for her part in a paedophile ring which used three girls and two boys, all under 13 years old, as ‘sexual play-things’.

Black, a former insurance worker, was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 24 years following a trial at Norwich Crown Court. The court heard details of what Judge Coleman went on to describe as a case which was ‘the most harrowing one it has been my misfortune to try’.

Details emerging from the trial included allegations of the children being taken to so-called ‘sex parties’, being ‘raffled’ to be abused by others, being ‘passed around like toys’ and that children’s toys, such as Barbie dolls, were used in the abuse.

Black and two of her former partners were convicted of 23 and 27 offences respectively; including rape, conspiracy to rape, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and cruelty. Both former partners were also sentenced to extended sentences of 24 years each. All three were added to the Sex Offenders Register.

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Hornby commented that Black was the ‘one common denominator’ at the centre of abuse which was ‘beyond most peoples’ imagination’.

Perhaps the most critical aspect of this investigation is that the lead perpetrator was a woman, one that has become one of the most prolific paedophiles in history following the life sentence handed to her.

We are pleased that justice has been served to all of the perpetrators of these most heinous crimes, and hope that the children involved receive the close care and attention that they will require to move past an ordeal as traumatic as this.

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