Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 16:21 UK

Spotlight on trio of child abusers

By Sarah White and Dan Bell
BBC News

A nursery worker and two others have pleaded guilty to a catalogue of child sex abuse.

Vanessa George, who worked at a nursery in Plymouth, admitted sexual abuse of children and then sharing pictures of her crimes with Colin Blanchard and Angela Allen, who she met on Facebook.

Blanchard and Allen also pleaded guilty to multiple sexual assaults on children and to taking and sharing pictures of the attacks. Here are profiles of the three people.

Vanessa George
George had passed a Criminal Records Bureau check

By the time police came to arrest Vanessa George for child abuse, she had been employed at the nursery at the centre of the case for three years, and had worked in childcare for 10 years before that.

The married mother, who has two teenage children, had an NVQ Level 2 in child care and had passed a Criminal Records Bureau check in order to work at the nursery.

But in June of this year Devon and Cornwall Police arrived at George's house at midnight, seized her computer and mobile, and took her into custody.

The 39-year-old from Plymouth has now pleaded guilty to 13 charges including sexual abuse of children and making and distributing indecent images of children.

She pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual assault which was ordered to lie on file.

Devon and Cornwall Police had been tipped off by Greater Manchester Police that she had been supplying indecent images taken at the nursery to her co-defendant, Colin Blanchard.

There's been no explanation so we don't understand why she would start to do this, what her motivation was
Police spokeswoman

Police said that in the nine months leading up to her arrest, she had developed an interest in sexual chat with men online, and that is how she met Blanchard, who introduced their other co-defendant, Angela Allen.

In the end police found some 3,000 texts between George and Blanchard. Some of them had been about their love for each other, but many were of a highly sexually explicit, paedophilic nature. Blanchard had also sent images showing him abusing a young child.

George's father, Roger Marks, described his daughter as driven by money and said he believed her motives would have been financial rather than sexual.

However police said there was no evidence of any financial gain or any other motive for their crimes.

A police spokeswoman said: "There's been no explanation so we don't understand why she would start to do this, what her motivation was. Nothing has been uncovered from the past.


"It's something within her. Only she knows."

Mr Marks said his daughter had a troubled childhood - he and his daughter's mother rowed constantly and he was eventually kicked out of the family home when his daughter was seven years old.

George's mother then died of cancer aged just 35, and George went to live with her grandmother who died two years ago. Mr Marks, who is estranged from his daughter, said George had been very close to her mother, whose death had hit her hard.

Mr Marks said he believed George had always felt alone, even during her 20-year marriage to a man she regularly rowed with and who has now disowned her.

Mr Marks said he thought "Vanessa was never happy" and neighbours noted how she was always on a computer, or sitting on her front step on her mobile, and would never let anyone in her home.

Colin Blanchard
Blanchard had already spent five years on the sex offenders register

Colin Blanchard was arrested in June after his business partner accidentally found indecent images of very young children on his laptop.

His partner had become concerned over their finances and had checked the laptop while Blanchard was away on a business trip. The self-styled IT consultant was arrested the following day by armed police at Manchester Airport as he flew in from Dubai.

Abusive images were found both on his laptop and iphone and Blanchard has admitted 19 counts of sexual assault and distributing indecent images of children.

Under questioning Blanchard admitted to police he had met co-defendant Vanessa George on Facebook, which led them to the nursery.

Blanchard had forwarded images to George showing him abusing a young child.

He wouldn't care who he'd hurt, or who he'd rip off
Former business partner

It was not the first time Blanchard had been linked to child abuse. In 2002 the 38-year-old from Rochdale was cautioned for downloading indecent images of children and spent five years on the sex offenders' register.

He was described as manipulative and a "charmer" who would have befriended his co-defendants over the internet.

He is also said to have had a volatile relationship with his wife of 16 years.

A former business partner said: "It's purely money he's into. He wouldn't care who he'd hurt, or who he'd rip off."

Angela Allen (courtesy Raymonds press agency)
Allen was described by police as a 'very seriously evil individual'

Angela Allen is said to have gone "white as a sheet" when her Facebook friend Colin Blanchard was arrested on child abuse charges.

A neighbour said the 39-year-old from Nottingham was thrown into shock when police began making raids on a paedophile ring centred around a nursery school.

She was arrested in June by Greater Manchester Police and later admitted to having an online relationship with Colin Blanchard.

She has admitted five counts of sexual assault and distributing indecent images of children.

'Sinister and evil'

One neighbour described Allen as "loud and aggressive" and said that Allen had told her she had been brought up in care homes.

Allen was also said to have attacked her live-in boyfriend, who she had met when they had worked together as traffic wardens previously, and forced him to move out.

Police described Allen's actions as "graphic depravity" and that she was not only a "willing participant and instigator" in the rape of a very young child but had "passed them [images] on as a trophy".

She was, police said, a "very seriously evil individual" who showed no remorse or concern about her victim. She was, police added, "a truly chilling individual… sinister and evil".

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