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MP demands review of decision to release nursery paedophile Vanessa George

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Luke Pollard said George’s release from prison was a ‘kick in the teeth’ for Plymouth and he had written to the Justice Secretary to demand a review

Nursery child abuse case

An MP is demanding a review of the decision to release from prison a paedophile nursery worker because she no longer poses a “significant risk to the public”.

Vanessa George, 49, who worked at Little Ted’s Nursery in Plymouth, was jailed indefinitely in 2009 and told to serve a minimum of seven years after taking photographs on her phone of her abusing toddlers.

The Parole Board said that George, a mother of two, was recommended for release following a review that concluded earlier this month.

The decision has been condemned by a Plymouth MP who said he had written to the Justice Secretary David Gauke seeking an “urgent review”.

Paedophile nursery worker Vanessa George is set to be released from prison following a review by the Parole Board (Devon Cornwall Police/PA).
Paedophile nursery worker Vanessa George is set to be released from prison following a review by the Parole Board (Devon Cornwall Police/PA).

Luke Pollard, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said: “Vanessa George’s crimes against children in Plymouth cannot be forgotten and it’s very hard to forgive her for them.

“I know I can’t and that’s why her release from jail is a kick in the teeth for our city and all her victims.

“I am very concerned about the safety of our city’s children with the imminent release of Vanessa George and have written to the Justice Secretary asking for the decision to release Vanessa George to be urgently reviewed in light of the public outcry and continuing risk to children that I believe she poses.”

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The Parole Board spokeswoman said “public safety was the number one priority” for the panel considering George’s release.

“Parole Board decisions are solely focused on whether a prisoner would represent a significant risk to the public after release,” a spokeswoman said.

“The panel will have carefully looked at a whole range of evidence, including details of the original evidence and any evidence of behaviour change.

“This is done with great care and public safety is the number one priority.”

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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 maltreatment of babies and toddlers would be felt in every one of the country’s nursery schools, he added.

MP portraits
Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Luke Pollard

Although the self-styled “paedo whore mum” has named some victims, George was accused of deliberately hiding information that would properly pinpoint those in the pictures she took.

Sentencing her to an indeterminate sentence at Bristol Crown Court the judge said her trading of abuse images with two other paedophiles was “wicked, cold, calculated, repeated offending which for any decent person defies belief”.

“It would be quite wrong for the Crown to tell parents that their child had been abused if in fact that was not the case,” he said.

“I find it difficult to accept that she is genuinely not in a position to provide more information than she has.”

He added: “The photographs of children you were abusing did not show their faces.

“Many parents would like to have known. Some would prefer not to have known. Both positions are entirely understandable.

“I make it clear that the revelation of names is not a mitigating factor. It is what anyone with a drop of decency would have done at an early stage, certainly if there was genuine remorse.”

He added: “Parents have to live with the memory of you coming out with a smile on your face to hand back their child, when you may well have been doing unspeakable things to that child.”

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 George’s actions and one said that “a lifetime of childcare had been ruined by Vanessa’s actions”.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) does not have the power to review the decision of the Parole Board.

It could be challenged in the courts by judicial review but judges would have to be satisfied the decision was procedurally flawed or met the legal threshold for unreasonableness.

An MoJ spokeswoman said: “We understand this will be a difficult decision for the victims and their families and our heartfelt sympathies remain with them.

“Public protection is our priority and Vanessa George will be subject to strict conditions. She will be banned from working with children and faces a return to prison should she fail to comply.

“The release of indeterminate sentence prisoners is a matter for the independent Parole Board, which carries out a full risk assessment before making a decision.”

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