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Nursery paedophile Vanessa George jailed indefinitely

15 December 09 18:58 GMT

A nursery worker who sexually abused children in her care and swapped indecent images over the internet has been jailed indeterminately.

Vanessa George, 39, from Plymouth, took photographs on her phone of her abusing toddlers at Little Ted's Nursery.

The judge said she would serve at least seven years for her crimes which "plumbed new depths of depravity".

Angela Allen, 39, from Nottingham, who was sent the images, was told she would serve at least five years.

Allen also received an indeterminate sentence.

Colin Blanchard, 39, from Rochdale, who forwarded the pictures to Allen after George sent them to him, will be sentenced at a later date.

Judge Mr Justice Royce warned George that she could face "the rest of your days" in prison unless she proved she was safe to society.

He dubbed George "wicked, cold and calculating" and told her: "It is in effect a life sentence."

He said neither George nor Allen would be allowed to be released while they remained a danger to the public.

"This case has cause widespread revulsion and incredulity," he said.

"It has rocked the city of Plymouth but the shockwaves extend much further, perhaps to every nursery school in the country."

He told George: "You gave parents who entrusted their children to your care every reason to believe they would be safe.

"How grossly did you abuse their trust. What you did plumbed new depths of depravity."

As George was led out of court, two women jumped from their seats in the public gallery and screamed abuse at her.

One mother, who chose not to attend court, said: "Life wouldn't have been good enough."

Outside the court after the hearing, one father said: "It's brilliant to know that she's out of the way and can't harm anyone else.

"Hearing what was done to our babies, you end up with mental images. You can't sleep or eat. It affects your relationship but hopefully now we can start to rebuild our lives.

"I can go home tonight and cuddle my child knowing they are safe."

George has refused to give investigators a definitive list of her victims, despite pleas from some of the families.

Mr Justice Royce said: "I find it difficult to accept that she is genuinely not in a position to provide more information than she has."

George's defence barrister had made her abuse sound as forgettable as "a cup of coffee", the judge said.

Mother-of-two George had admitted seven sexual assaults and six counts of making and distributing indecent pictures of children at a hearing in October.

Allen admitted four child sex assaults and one count of distributing an indecent image.

Blanchard pleaded guilty to 17 offences relating to indecent images of children and two sexual assaults on children.

He also admitted a further charge of possessing extreme pornography.

Police said they remained committed to identifying the children George abused.

Detectives said the abuse started in December 2008 after the three apparently met on a social networking site.

George was arrested at her home in Efford in June this year after images of sexually abusing children and babies were found on a computer in Manchester.

Police searched her home and the nursery, where she had worked since September 2006.

In one e-mail she described herself and Blanchard as "the perfect paedophile couple".

Some of the parents whose children attended Little Ted's had travelled more than 100 miles (161km) to see George sentenced.

One mother, whose child attended the nursery, said she had considered George to be "one of her closest friends" and even defended the paedophile when rumours of her arrest first broke.

She now described George as "pure evil from inside to out".

"Saying sorry would be an insult," she told BBC News.

"The minute she took a photograph it was too late. She can never make up for what she's done - she's taken the innocence of all the children."

The mother said she believed her only mistake was to trust George, and her actions were something she and her family would never get over.

Det Supt Michelle Slevin, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "These two individuals, both mothers themselves, have never met but carried out shocking acts of child abuse.

"No-one forced these two women to commit these atrocious acts on some of the most youngest and most vulnerable people in our society.

"And it is right the sentences imposed today reflect this."

Andrew George said he now intends to divorce his "callous and twisted" estranged wife.

He said in a statement he was satisfied justice had been done, although he bitterly regretted her refusal to reveal the full names of her victims.

"Such callousness illustrates the contempt and complete indifference in which she holds all of us," he said.

"Not once has she attempted to give me or our daughters explanation for her behaviour.

"I hope the doctors and psychiatrists who will be treating her in prison will be able to unlock her twisted mind in the hope of curbing or curing her addictions."

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