Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Nursery worker names sex victims

Vanessa George. Pic: Devon and Cornwall Police
George will be sentenced next month

A nursery worker who abused children in her care has named some of her victims, but parents must wait to find out if their children are involved.

Vanessa George, 39, who pleaded guilty to abusing children at Little Ted's Nursery in Plymouth, had previously refused to identify the children.

A senior police source said George had given the names to her lawyer.

Families of children at the nursery have been told of the development and police are to interview George in jail.

One parent, who cannot be named, said she hoped George was telling the truth, describing the waiting as "agony".

George is currently remanded in custody at Eastwood Park prison in Gloucestershire.

Disowned by family

Officers must now try to establish whether the information George has given is correct - but police have stressed that no individual child has yet been formally identified as a victim.

George, a mother-of-two from Plymouth, will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on 13 November.

Colin Blanchard, 39, from Rochdale, and Angela Allen, also 39, from Nottingham, will also be sentenced after they pleaded guilty to sex abuse charges.

Community worker Kathy Hancock: "We have to make sure what she is saying is true"

The three met on the social networking site Facebook then began exchanging messages and images via mobile phones and e-mails.

The abuse began in September last year and they were arrested in June.

George admitted 13 charges of indecently assaulting, taking indecent photos and distributing photos of children in her care.

Police estimated up to 30 babies and toddlers could have been abused, but they have been unable to identify them from the images.

During police interviews, George admitted her crimes were "disgusting" and "vile", but until now she has rejected pleas from police, parents and her own estranged family to identify the children.

Colin Blanchard and Angela Allen
Colin Blanchard (l) and Angela Allen exchanged images with George

George's husband Andrew and her two teenage daughters, who have publicly disowned her, said they were "relieved" she was co-operating.

Judge John Royce warned the three abusers in court on 1 October they faced substantial prison sentences.

He also told George's lawyer Geoff Parlby it would be the "decent" thing for his client to co-operate with police in identifying the abuse victims and spare the parents further anguish.

A spokeswoman for the lawyer said the firm would not be commenting on the situation.

A senior officer told BBC South West's home affairs correspondent Simon Hall that George had named a number of the children she abused.

One parent, who was informed of the development by text, told BBC News she was upset and angry police could not conclusively tell her whether her child had been abused. She declined to comment further.

Some [parents] just want to try to forget and get on with their lives
Kathy Hancock
Heart of Efford Community Partnership

In an official statement, Devon and Cornwall Police said: "As part of ongoing inquiries, detectives from Devon and Cornwall Constabulary are involved in a dialogue with George's defence counsel and the question of victim identification is part of that.

"It would be inappropriate to go into this further until sentencing is complete.

"We continue to update parents regularly regarding the investigation."

Earlier this month, a child expert said because of the age of the victims, they should recover and grow up "unscarred" by the ordeal they suffered at George's hands.

Kathy Hancock, chair of the Heart of Efford Community Partnership, in Plymouth, said despite the development, many of the families remained adamant they do not want to know if their toddlers were among George's victims.

"It's a lot for them to take on board and some just want to try to forget and get on with their lives," she told BBC News.

Ms Hancock said, unfortunately, many of the parents were cynical about George's motives.

They believe if George has decided to name the children she abused, it has been done in the hope of getting a reduced sentence.

Print Sponsor

Abuse toddlers 'should recover'
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