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Former pornographer in financial crisis

PUBLISHED: 15:47 15 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:12 03 March 2010

A FORMER Ipswich convent girl turned pornographer, whose seedy empire was once estimated at more than £1m, is in serious financial difficulties.

Receivers today confirmed one-time porn queen, Melissa Tooke, who once produced a blue movie a week from her four-bedroom Norwich Road home, was "thousands of pounds in debt.

A FORMER Ipswich convent girl turned pornographer, whose seedy empire was once valued at over £1million, is in serious financial difficulties.

Receivers today confirmed one-time porn queen Melissa Tooke was "thousands of pounds in debt."

Assistant official receiver Dave Gibson confirmed there would be no creditors' meeting or public examination into Ms Tooke's business empire.

He said: "There are no assets for creditors to apply for."

The 29-year-old once produced a blue movie a week from her four-bedroomed home in Norwich Road, Ipswich. Her high-flying former lifestyle once boasted six homes and a £40,000 Mercedes.

She gave her current address as a down-at-heel upstairs flat in Felixstowe Road. However, when The Evening Star called to speak to her we were told she was not known at that address.

Ms Tooke and her then partner Nicholas Pace hit the headlines in 1999 when they were exposed as the brains behind Insight, one of East Anglia's biggest porn empires.

But the case against the couple was thrown out by Lowestoft magistrates on a time-lapse technicality.

Before it collapsed the case showed that the business was not an amateur sideline with a small client base, but one of the biggest blue movie factories seen in Suffolk.

Ms Tooke always denied she ever appeared in any of the films.

When its premises in Norwich Road and Burrell Road were raided, trading standards officers were astounded to discover Insight's tentacles stretched across the length and breadth of Great Britain.

The company also had contacts in mainland Europe and America.

Among the equipment recovered from swoops were 26 video recorders, hundreds of blank videos, mailing lists, cameras and magazines, along with master copies and cassettes of the seedy films.

Ms Tooke, an ex-pupil of the former convent-run School of Jesus and Mary in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, claimed to have made hundreds of films.

She was born into a middle-class Suffolk family with connections to a well-known Ipswich building firm.

To complete her formal education, Ms Tooke was sent to Kirby Lodge Finishing School for Young Ladies in Cambridge.

After working as a glamour model for a year, she used the money she earned to begin making her own films.

From 1996 to 1998, Ms Tooke made an average of one film a week and claimed to have made more than £1m from her ever-expanding business. It was estimated that 200 videos a week were being run off when Insight's premises were raided late in 1998.

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