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Paedophile trio guilty of horrific child abuse; Nursery worker urged to help identify the victims.

Byline: Jamie Grierson

A NURSERY worker formed part of an evil triangle of paedophiles who met on Facebook and subjected their victims to a catalogue of horrific child abuse.

Vanessa George and her two accomplices, Angela Allen and Colin Blanchard, abused children as young as 12 months and recorded the vile acts on mobile phones.

All three pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court yesterday to a string of chilling sexual assault offences and swapping indecent images.

George, 39, who worked at Little Ted's nursery in her home city of Plymouth at the time of the offences, has worked in childcare for nearly a decade.

But she has no previous convictions and no complaints or allegations have been made about her in the past, police said.

She took up employment at Little Ted's in September 2006 after passing all appropriate criminal record background (CRB) checks.

Further inspections of the private nursery by regulator Ofsted confirmed this, and also awarded Little Ted's a good rating for "protecting children from harm or neglect".

Devon and Cornwall Police said a serious case review (SCR) launched by children's services after George's arrest should address any questions over how she secured employment.

Last night, children's secretary Ed Balls said it was "hard to comprehend" how George was able to "do such terrible things to innocent children". "My department is in regular contact with Plymouth Council, who have been offering ongoing support to the staff and families," he said.

"I expect the serious case review by Plymouth's Local Safeguarding Children Board to be completed as soon as possible."

He said it was important to "do everything we can" to prevent similar abuse in the future.

The twisted trio subjected their young victims to horrific sexual abuse involving plastic golf clubs, sex toys and toothbrushes.

They recorded the abuse on their mobiles and then swapped the pictures via e-mail using unprotected accounts. But they never met in person.

George was arrested at her home in Douglass Road, Plymouth, just after midnight on June 8. Her arrest sparked public outrage and there were angry scenes at her first appearance at Plymouth Magistrates' Court.

She was held following the arrest of Blanchard, 38, who was caught by police at Manchester Airport after a colleague found obscene pictures on a work computer.

Following further examination of Blanchard's computers, 39-year-old Allen, from Nottingham, was identified and arrested later in June.

As the investigation continued, police discovered the trio had exchanged thousands of texts and dozens of e-mails, goading each other to commit more depraved acts.

The public gallery at court was packed yesterday with around 30 emotional parents, who wept as the guilty pleas were entered.

George hung her head as she admitted seven sexual assaults on children and six counts of distributing and making indecent pictures of children. Blanchard showed no emotion as he pleaded guilty to 17 child pornography counts and two sexual assaults on children.

He also admitted a further charge of possessing extreme pornography.

It emerged Blanchard, from Smallbridge, Greater Manchester, was placed on the sex offenders register in 2002 after receiving a police caution for downloading - but not producing - indecent images of children.

Allen wept as she pleaded guilty to four child sex assaults and one count of distributing an indecent image.

George also denied one sex assault, which was ordered by the judge to lie on file.

Mr Justice John Royce warned them they faced substantial prison sentences and urged George to co-operate with police in identifying all her victims.

Mr Justice Royce said many parents still did not know if their child was among the victims, but that George "must know".

The judge adjourned the case, provisionally scheduling sentencing for November 13.

CAPTION(S):

PERVERTS: Vanessa George, Colin Blanchard and Angela Allen, who committed a string of child sex abuse offences
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 2, 2009
Words:636
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