Vanessa George: Families ‘tormented’ by nursery abuser’s silence

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Vanessa GeorgeImage copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Vanessa George has been deemed eligible for parole

A father who believes his child was sexually assaulted by nursery worker Vanessa George has said he is “tormented” by her unwillingness to admit which infants she abused.

George pleaded guilty in 2009 to seven sexual assaults on children and making 124 indecent images of children – but she refused to identify her victims.

She has now been judged eligible for parole under strict conditions.

The child’s father, “Simon”, said this was “disgusting”.

The Parole Board said its decisions were made “with great care, and public safety is the number one priority”.

But local MP Luke Pollard questioned how George, who worked at a nursery in Plymouth, could have shown remorse if she was still withholding victims’ names.

Families ‘forgotten’

Simon – whose name we have changed – told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme the affected families had been “forgotten” in the decision to deem her eligible for parole.

His child had attended Little Ted’s nursery in Plymouth when George worked there.

He said he was angry at the judgement, adding the families had never been offered the support promised to them by the authorities when the abuse came to light.

“She’s getting better treatment than we are,” he claimed.

George was jailed for a minimum of seven years in 2009 for abusing children in her care at the nursery, and taking photos and swapping indecent images over the internet.

As part of her release she would be obliged to live at a “designated address”, restricted in her “movements and contacts” and required to operate under a curfew.

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

Simon said every day remained “a living nightmare” – and he feared his child one day asking what nursery they attended, and having to tell them the truth.

He said believes his child was abused but would prefer George to confirm that “so I can deal with it”, than never know for certain.

“She’s still got that hold on us,” he said, describing George as “calculating”.

“Our sentence is still carrying on.”

Mr Pollard, Labour MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, told Victoria Derbyshire he had written to Home Secretary Priti Patel to ask if the police investigation could be reopened, in the hope new evidence could prevent George’s release.

He said having spoken to police and probation officers who worked on the case there were “suspicions” some charges were never brought to court in the original case because they may have been considered “overly complex” or that there was not enough evidence.

He said he hoped “every avenue” could now be explored.

Image caption Local MP Luke Pollard believes George’s release must be prevented

Mr Pollard also criticised the Parole Board’s handling of the case, and its inability to keep many families informed.

He said, just as boards took into account when murderers refused to say where their victim’s body was buried, George’s unwillingness to give the names of her victims should also have been held in consideration when determining her potential release.

Nursery workers ‘fooled’

Members of the local community have also voiced anger at George’s forthcoming release.

“Emma” – also not her real name – who worked at the nursery at the same time as George, said she and her colleagues had been “fooled” by the abuser, and struggled with the feeling they had let the children down.

She said while she had challenged George over her sexualised descriptions of men at the nursery, she had never suspected she was abusing children.

She added that she “never wanted to see” George’s face again.

The Parole Board said in a statement its decisions were “solely focused on whether a prisoner would represent a significant risk to the public after release”.

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

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