Mother charged in Plymouth abuse inquiry

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The Independent Online

A fourth suspect has been charged in connection with the child abuse inquiry that led to the conviction of the nursery worker Vanessa George.

Tracy Lyons, 39, a pregnant mother of eight from Portsmouth, was arrested after a multi-force police inquiry that involved Little Ted's nursery in Plymouth.

She went before magistrates in Portsmouth on Saturday charged with sexually abusing a child, taking an indecent image of a child and distributing indecent images of a child. She was remanded in custody and will return to court on 18 January.

Her arrest by officers from Hampshire Constabulary followed information from Greater Manchester Police, who investigated Colin Blanchard, 39, from Rochdale. He was a member of a paedophile ring that included George, 39, from Plymouth, and Angela Allen, 39, from Nottingham.

The three will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court next month for 37 child sex offences. In tapes of detectives interviewing George, released to BBC's Inside Out yesterday, she said she knew her offences were "vile".

George photographed children at Little Ted's, abused them and sent the pictures to Blanchard. In the interviews, she suggested she was motivated by the hope of marriage to Blanchard.

There was little real recognition of how abhorrent her crimes were and she refused to say which children had been abused. At one point she said: "I'm fuming with myself, really. I am. Because it's the epitome, isn't it? It's like absolutely disgusting."