Update: While in prison at HMP Littlehey near Huntingdon, Melling’s health deteriorated rapidly and he died in a hospice on November 4 2018, with the coroner giving the cause of death as oesophageal cancer that spread to the rest of his body.

May 2008

Lengthy jail terms for Tyneside paedophile ring

Peter Melling (left) Paul Bures (centre) Derek Marshall (right)

DANGEROUS paedophiles who formed an international ring to procure vulnerable Tyneside boys for sexual abuse have been handed lengthy prison sentences.

In a horrendous sequence of incidents, the youngsters – some with learning difficulties – were taken abroad and subjected to months of sex sessions.

At an earlier hearing, Peter Melling and his pal Paul Anthony Bures, who both had convictions for child sex or child porn offences, admitted a string of child sexual offences carried out over two years.

Both men were handed indeterminate sentences, with 58-year-old Melling having to serve a minimum of five years, and 54-year-old Bures two years and three months before they can be considered for parole.

Police inquiries initially centred on abuse, allegedly ranging from rape to indecent assault, involving up to eight children.

But the men eventually pleaded guilty to lesser child sex offences connected to four boys.

And a Tyneside father and son have also been sentenced for their part in the sickening scam after pleading guilty to helping lure the boys on holidays and into the perverts’ hands.

Today, after they appeared before a Newcastle Crown Court judge, the sickening catalogue of abuse can be revealed.

Det Insp Nigel Wilkinson, of North Tyneside area command, headed the inquiry team for the operation, codenamed Cathedral.

He said: “These men were a clear danger to children and had it not been for the dedication and hard work put into catching them, we feel sure other youngsters would have suffered.”

Police investigated offences that were alleged to have been carried out in the Northumbria area, Spain, Kent, London, and Hartlepool, between 1998 and 2006. They discovered a paedophile chain linked to the four men.

Melling and Bures had already moved to live in separate homes in the same area of Almeria, Spain.

Their victims, aged 13 to 15, were groomed by Derek Marshall and his son Graeme, who persuaded their parents they would look after them while away on holidays abroad and day trips in the UK.

Bures, an ex-pat builder from Kent, had been on a Costa CrimeStoppers most-wanted list after fleeing when police were alerted.

The businessman had convictions for an attempted indecent assault on a boy under 14 at Dartford Magistrates’ Court, Kent, on January 1, 1987. He was put on probation order for 18 months.

Bures was also convicted on September 17, 2001, at Canterbury Crown Court of 18 counts of making indecent photographs of children for which he was fined £100 on each count.

Co-accused Middlesbrough man Melling was arrested in Bulgaria last July after co-operation between the Bulgarian and Turkish authorities.

Melling had been jailed for four years at Newcastle Crown Court in 1972 for six counts of serious sexual assaults on boys and one count of indecent assault on a male under 14.

In 1996 he also received two years imprisonment in total at Teesside Crown Court for serious sexual assault on a male aged 16 or over and gross indecency with a male under the age of 21.

The Marshalls, both formerly of North Shields, and Cumbria admitted arranging or facilitating the commission of child sex offences.

They had no previous convictions for child sex offences.

Bures admitted sexual activity with a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity between August and October 2006.

He further admitted possessing indecent images of children in March last year.

Melling admitted eight charges of sexual activity with a child between December 2004 and October 2006. Those offences involve four different boys.

Marshall junior, 24, formerly of Ripley Avenue, admitted taking one boy to Melling’s home in Torrevieja, Spain, and another to a caravan park in Sandy Bay, Northumberland, where he left him unsupervised with Melling. He was sentenced to a three-year community order.

Marshall senior, 52, of Melbourne Street, Carlisle, admitted arranging for a boy to spend a night with Melling in a bedroom and taking another to him, and was ordered to serve a five-year jail term.