Child abuser banned from Devon and Cornwall after 10 years in jail

‘Unusually large exclusion zone’ will be imposed on Vanessa George, who abused toddlers in her care

A nursery school worker jailed 10 years ago for sexually abusing children in her care and swapping images of the abuse with two other paedophiles will be banned from her home county when she is released from prison, the Probation Service has said.

Vanessa George, 49, was jailed indefinitely in 2009 after sexually abusing toddlers at Little Ted’s Nursery in Plymouth, Devon. George, a mother-of-two, is due to be released from prison soon with the Parole Board judging she no longer poses a “significant risk to the public”.

But George will be subjected to “strict licence conditions” and an “unusually large exclusion zone”, including not being allowed to return to Devon or Cornwall.

In an open letter to the people of Plymouth, chief probation officer Sonia Crozier said: “I share the disgust at the crimes committed by Vanessa George and I understand why the prospect of her release is so worrying to so many people, particularly in Plymouth where memories of her abuse are still vivid and frightening.

“The fact she so callously exploited a position of trust to commit these crimes makes them all the more horrifying. She will also never be allowed to work with children again and will be on the sex offenders’ register for the rest of her life.

“She is subject to a number of conditions, including not to have unsupervised contact with any children whatsoever. If she breaches any of these conditions or if her probation officer thinks there is an increasing chance she might re-offend – she can be immediately recalled to prison.”

During George’s 2009 sentencing, Mr Justice Royce told her she had “plumbed new depths of depravity” by abusing those in her care. The “shockwaves” of her abuse of babies and toddlers would be felt in every one of the country’s nursery schools, he added.

Although George has named some victims, she was accused of deliberately hiding information that would properly pinpoint some of those in the pictures she took. Child protection officers visited 180 children thought to have had contact with George, who admitted taking up to eight pictures a day while on duty.

Staff at Little Ted’s said they felt “betrayed” by her actions and one said that “a lifetime of childcare had been ruined by Vanessa’s actions”.

In her letter, Crozier said 21 families had taken up the offer of support in the wake of George’s crimes. “It would be wrong for us to proactively contact people who may have decided very carefully that the best thing for them is to put this awful experience behind them,” she said.

“But I want to make it absolutely clear to anyone who might have been affected that they can still apply to take up that offer of contact now. Any parent who wants to receive this service will have a dedicated victim liaison officer who will keep them updated about any new developments in George’s case.

“This includes being notified once she has been released and whether she is ever recalled to prison for a breach of licence conditions. Further, the Parole Board has said that it will consider sympathetically any further requests for exclusion zones, to prevent any victim from coming into contact inadvertently with George.

“If she is ever recalled, they will be given the opportunity to make a statement to the Parole Board about how the crime impacted them and will be able to express their views on her licence conditions.”

George was convicted alongside two others, Colin Blanchard and Angela Allen. “Exceptionally, this will also apply for George’s co-defendants in this case Colin Blanchard and Angela Allen when they become eligible for parole consideration.” George was said to be besotted with Blanchard and sent him the images she had taken. The images were also sent to Allen.


Steven Morris and agency

The GuardianTramp

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