Parents can 'choose to know' if Vanessa George abused their child

Parents whose children may have been abused by nursery worker Vanessa George should be able to choose to know if their children were among her victims, a judge said today.

George, 39, and her co-defendants Angela Allen, 39, and Colin Blanchard, 38, pleaded guilty last month to a string of offences of assault and making and distributing indecent images.

George's barrister Nicolas Gerasimidis successfully applied at Bristol Crown Court today for the trio's sentencing to be delayed to give time for more material to be gathered.

George, who worked at Little Ted's Day Care Unit, in her home city of Plymouth, Devon; Allen, from Nottingham; and Blanchard, from Smallbridge, near Rochdale, Greater Manchester, did not attend.

Last month, Mr Justice John Royce called on George to co-operate with police in identifying all the abuse victims in the photographs.

Last week, it emerged George had finally revealed a list of children's names to Devon and Cornwall Police.

During today's hearing, Mr Justice Royce told the court: "If parents want to find out whether their child has been abused, then they should be in a position to do so.

"If they don't want to know, and I fully understand why some parents should not want to know, then the information should not be thrust upon them. It should be a parental choice."

George admitted seven sexual assaults on children and six counts of distributing and making indecent pictures of children.

Blanchard pleaded guilty to 17 child pornography counts and two sexual assaults on children. He also admitted a further charge of possessing extreme pornography.

Allen pleaded guilty to four child sex assaults and one count of distributing an indecent image.

Today, Mr Gerasimidis told the court George intends to claim that Blanchard "used" her to access indecent images.

He said: "It will be Vanessa George's case that she was used by Colin Blanchard, who is a principle mover in the contacting of women of a certain age so that the type of material this court is concerned with is disseminated back to him."

The abuse for which the three were convicted began in September last year and carried on until this June.

George, Allen and Blanchard subjected their young victims to humiliating sexual abuse involving plastic golf clubs, sex toys and toothbrushes.

They recorded the horrific abuse on their mobile phones and then exchanged the pictures via email - to unprotected accounts including MSN Hotmail - never actually meeting in person.

Mr Justice Royce adjourned sentencing to the week beginning December 14. He also fixed a hearing for November 11 to check the progress of the case.