Devon

Vanessa George: Devon and Cornwall ban for nursery abuser

Vanessa George Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Vanessa George is eligible for parole

A paedophile nursery worker who sexually abused children in her care will be banned from her home county when she is released from prison.

Vanessa George, 49, was jailed for a minimum of seven years in 2009 for abusing children at a Plymouth nursery.

In July, the Parole Board said she had been judged eligible for parole under strict conditions.

The Probation Service said she would not be allowed to return to Devon and Cornwall when she is released.

George took photographs on her phone of her abusing children in her care at Little Ted's nursery and swapped indecent images over the internet.

When she is released from prison, she will be subjected to "strict licence conditions" and an "unusually large exclusion zone", including not being allowed to return to the West Country.

Image caption Little Ted's nursery was closed following the discovery of abuse of young children

Chief probation officer Sonia Crozier said she understood why the prospect of George's release was "so worrying to so many people, particularly in Plymouth where memories of her abuse are still vivid and frightening".

In an open letter to the people of Plymouth, she said George would "also never be allowed to work with children again and will be on the sex offenders register for the rest of her life."

"If she breaches any of these conditions, or if her probation officer thinks there is an increasing chance she might reoffend, she can be immediately recalled to prison," she said.

A former nursery parent, who did not want to be identified, described the ruling as a "joke" to the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

He said the Parole Board was not aware of where all the victims and their families live.

"People could still bump into her. It should be a much larger zone," he added.

Plymouth Labour MP Luke Pollard, who campaigned to prevent George's release, said it had been known for some time the parole conditions would be "tough but rightly so".

"I think she should remain behind bars," he said.

"If she has to be released then the families of her victims must have certainty that she won't be able to contact the children she abused."

George has named some of her victims but has been accused of deliberately hiding information that would properly pinpoint those in the pictures she took.

Image caption Local MP Luke Pollard campaigned to prevent George's release

Mr Pollard said George had shown "little remorse" and a system that released someone like her early was "not working properly".

He added: "She still refuses to name which children she abused, so she may be banned from Devon and Cornwall and she might not be able to use internet-enabled devices but that won't help the parents who still don't know if their child is one of the children she abused, photographed and sent images of to a network of paedophiles."

Labour Plymouth City Councillor John Taylor said he welcomed the strict conditions that have been imposed on George but "bottom line is she shouldn't be being released".

"Monsters like her need to be kept off the streets for longer."

Child protection officers have visited 180 children thought to have had contact with George, who admitted taking up to eight pictures a day while on duty.

In her letter, Ms Crozier said 21 families had taken up an offer of support in the wake of George's crimes.

"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," she said.

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