January 2011

Colin Blanchard jailed indefinitely for leading four women into ‘sickening’ paedophile ring

Pervert computer consultant Colin Blanchard was given an indeterminate jail sentence with a minimum of nine years for leading an online paedophile ring which drew in four female accomplices.

Blanchard, 40, from Rochdale, convinced four women – Vanessa George, 40, Tracy Lyons, 41, Tracy Dawber, 44, and Angela Allen, 40 – to sexually assault young children and share the images.

Also sentenced alongside Blanchard at Bristol Crown Court were Lyons, who was jailed for seven years and Dawber, who was jailed for four years.

Fellow paedophiles George and Allen are already serving prison sentences.

Pictured: Tracy Dawber, Vanessa George, Tracy Lyons and Angela Allen

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Royce said: “This case involving the three of you, together with Vanessa George and Angela Allen, has caused widespread revulsion and disbelief.

“Your influence Colin Blanchard, described this morning as Svengali-like, over four separate women so they engaged in sexual abuse of children in such tender years, is frightening.

“It is more extraordinary when one appreciates you never actually met three of them in real life

“It is beyond the ken of decent people how any of you could stoop as disgustingly low as you did.” Mr Justice Royce said the father-of-two’s interest in child sex abuse was “deep-rooted and long-standing”.

He added: “You are warped, wicked, dangerous, devious and manipulative. Your pernicious grooming of women, whose sexual interest in children you stimulate then nurture and feed on, is plain to see. “You were the hub of the paedophile wheel.

Your attempts to paint these women as the predators do not fool me for a moment.

“Even though, once drawn in by you, they played a full part. If there is a predator in this, it is undoubtedly you.”

Blanchard could apply for release after serving a minimum nine years imprisonment, however Mr Justice Royce said the decision would be up to the Parole Board.

“The sentence is an indeterminate sentence of prison for public protection. It is in effect a life sentence,”

He said. “If the Parole Board is not satisfied it is safe for you to be released, then you will remain in prison for the rest of your days. There would be many who would say that is no more than you deserve.” Blanchard refused to appear in person to be sentenced because he did not want to share the dock with Dawber.

The gang was smashed when a work colleague of Blanchard found child sex abuse images on his computer at an office in Trafford Park in June 2009 and called police.

The net closed in on the rest of the gang and detectives identified nursery worker George, mother-of-nine Lyons, community care worker Dawber and ex-prostitute Allen as being the other members.

Blanchard met the women over the internet and convinced them to sexually assault young children and send him the perverted images.

George abused young children at Little Ted’s nursery in Plymouth. 

Allen and Lyons also both assaulted youngsters to please Blanchard.

Unlike the other women, Dawber actually met Blanchard and was in a year-long relationship with him.

She sexually assaulted a child and allowed Blanchard to take pictures of the abuse on his mobile phone.

George was obsessed with Blanchard, telling him she was his “paedo whore mum” and sending him eight pictures a week. Blanchard, George, Allen and Lyons pleaded guilty to a string of charges of sexual assault and making and possessing child pornography.

The final member of the ring to be convicted was Dawber, who was found guilty in October after a re-trial.

Mother-of-two George, of Douglass Road, Efford, Plymouth, Devon, and single mother Allen, from of Nine Acre Gardens, Bulwell, Nottingham, were given indeterminate prison sentences in December 2009.

Blanchard, of Yea Fold, Rochdale, Greater Manchester; Lyons, of North End, Portsmouth, Hants; and Dawber, from Bedford Road, Southport, Merseyside, will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court by Mr Justice Royce today.

Mr Justice Royce said Blanchard had an “unpleasant interest in bestiality” and had encouraged George to abuse children at Little Ted’s. “You must have known what a terrible breach of trust that was going to involve,” he said. “Vanessa George’s actions, with your encouragement, shook Little Ted’s nursery and those in Plymouth to the roots.

“The abuse of those children, those parents thought they were safe, has had a major impact on the lives of parents and staff. You then distributed them to Angela Allen. “The email or text communications between you and Angela Allen and you and Vanessa George are deeply disturbing. “These and others are sickening to read and reveal attitudes of breathtaking depravity.”

The judge said Dawber had an enthusiasm “for pushing the sexual boundaries” but blamed Blanchard for introducing her to child pornography. Despite Dawber’s crimes, her family have remained supportive and were in court to see her sentenced. The judge described Lyons’ online chats with Blanchard about bestiality as “disturbing”.

Addressing Lyons, the judge said: “You well knew what Blanchard’s perverted interest in children was. “Having received the child abuse images from him you maintained close contact with him. Your discussions with him are deeply worrying. “To video the abuse and send it to Blanchard was despicable.” All three defendants were banned from working with children for life and will be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

Ann Reddrop, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Colin Blanchard turned out to be an evil man who controlled four women in one of the most sickening paedophile rings this country has seen. “

He encouraged these women to take and share ever more horrific images of the sexual abuse of children. As if that was not bad enough, he encouraged them to physically abuse children to produce those pictures.”

TIMELINE: events leading to the convictions

2002 – Blanchard receives a police caution as result of an arrest in Manchester for possession of indecent images of children. He was placed on the sex offenders register between 2002 and 2007.

September 2006 – George begins working at Little Ted’s nursery in Plymouth.

Autumn 2008 – Blanchard establishes contact with George and Allen.

April 2009 – George is introduced to Allen by Blanchard.

June 5 2009 – Blanchard’s IT business partner stumbles across child abuse images on his colleague’s computer at their company premises in Trafford, Manchester.

June 6 – Airport police arrest Blanchard at Manchester Airport and seize computer and laptops.

Officers conduct further search warrants at Blanchard’s home and interview him in custody.

June 8 – Following interviews with Blanchard and examination of his computer equipment, George is identified as being involved.

Just after midnight, she is arrested and a warrant executed at her home in Douglass Road.

June 9 – The nursery where George worked is shut and parents are turned away.

A letter is sent to families summarising the allegations made against George.

In Manchester, Blanchard appears at Trafford Magistrates’ Court charged with possessing child pornography.

June 10 – At 12.43pm George is charged with several counts of sexual assault and possessing child pornography.

June 11 – George appears before Plymouth Magistrates’ Court amid heated scenes. The public gallery is packed with angry and concerned parents who jeer and spit at the defendant.

June 16 – Angela Allen, from Nottingham, is identified by Greater Manchester Police and arrested by Nottinghamshire Police.

June 20 – Allen appears at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court charged with several counts of sexual assault and possessing child pornography.

June 30 – Following further examination of Blanchard’s computer, he is identified as sexually abusing children in some images. He is formally arrested and charged in relation to these additional offences.

July 27 – Allen and George appear side by side at Bristol Crown Court, and the three defendants’ cases are formally linked. Blanchard is not produced.

October 1 – George, Allen and Blanchard appear together for the first time at Bristol Crown Court and plead guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault and making and possessing child pornography. Sentencing is set for November

Profile of the paedophiles

Colin Blanchard

The middle-class IT consultant was the leader of what prosecutors described as “one of the most sickening paedophile rings this country has seen”.

The 40-year-old from Rochdale – who lived in a £225,000 house with his wife and young daughter – pleaded guilty to 17 child sexual abuse images charges and two counts of sexual assault on children.

He also admitted possessing extreme pornography in relation to George and Allen, and the sexual assault of a baby and taking five indecent pics of the child with Dawber.

Liverpudlian Blanchard also faced an unrelated charge of possessing extreme pornography, in which he can be seen in a sex act with his pet Shih Tzu dog, Bubba.

Blanchard had contact with a number of women and police have not ruled out finding others involved in his sordid world of child abuse and the search goes on.

Vanessa George

Police believe self-styled “paedo whore mum” George came into contact with nearly 200 children while working at Little Ted’s Nursery in Plymouth but has refused to identify her victims.

Her descent from a working mother of two to a double life of depravity began with the breakdown of her marriage.

George abused youngsters for Blanchard’s pleasure and then sent the images to him.

Her husband – to whom she was married for 20 years – and their two teenage daughters have turned their backs on her.

The 40-year-old was last year jailed indefinitely after admitting seven sexual assaults on children and six counts of distributing and making indecent pictures of children.

Angela Allen

Allen abused children for Blanchard’s pleasure and swapped images with him and George using the online pseudonym of “Ang Bank”.

Police described the jobless mother-of-one as “sinister and evil” and said she was living on the “fringe of society” in a run down house with no furniture.

She was the “most graphic” and used her phone and computer to talk about sex with animals and fantasies of men raping children.

Detective Superintendent Adrian Pearson, of Nottinghamshire Police, said as she awaited sentence: “Angela Allen is a sinister and totally evil individual. “She has shed not a tear of remorse for her victim.”

Allen, 40, from Bulwell, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to four child sex assaults and one count of distributing an indecent image.

She was given an indeterminate sentence and told she must serve at least five years in prison before she can apply for parole

Tracy Lyons

Friends of Lyons describe her as a Pied Piper-like figure popular with teachers, parents and children alike.

However, the mother-of-nine had a darker side discussing child abuse and exchanging child sexual abuse images charges with Blanchard.

She was an occasional volunteer at Izzies Neighbourhood Nursery – although none of the charges relate to children at the nursery.

Lyons is said to have regularly had youngsters round to play at her house.

Lyons, 41, from North End, Portsmouth, admitted three counts of sexual assault on a child under the age of 13 and three counts of distributing an indecent photograph of a child.

Lyons was sentenced to 7 years

Tracy Dawber

Unlike the other women, Dawber actually met Blanchard and was in a relationship with him that lasted over a year.

Dawber, 44, and Blanchard were said to have met weekly after making contact either through social networking website Facebook or dating website Plenty of Fish.

The adult care worker, from Southport, Merseyside, sexually assaulted a baby and allowed Blanchard to take indecent photographs of the abuse.

Child sexual abuse images was found on her computer and the pair indulged in the “A to Z of sexual fantasies and desires”.

The spotlight began to fall on Dawber after the arrest of Blanchard and while waiting in his cell before his own sentence he spoke to police and put her name in the frame.

Dawber’s conviction brought an end to what prosecutors described as “one of the most sickening paedophile rings this country has seen”. 

Dawber was sentenced to four years