PA and Rex Features Vanessa George To family, work colleagues and to the parents of the children she cared for, Vanessa George seemed a respectable, valuable member of their community. The youngsters thought of her as cuddly and her workmates saw her as bubbly and fun, the life and soul of their social events. She had never been in trouble with the police and everyone trusted her. One mother of a child at Little Ted's said she considered George a friend.
She seemed like an angel — someone who was warm and really easy to get on with. She became good friends with a lot of the parents. Her mother died when she was a teenager and she bought the semi she still lives in with the money she was left. She lost contact with her father. Friends say George occasionally boasted of having extra-marital flings but she seemed a good mum and told everyone that she loved children. Before joining Little Ted's in Plymouth three years ago she worked as a classroom assistant at a school and made a little extra money by babysitting for local parents.
It all appears to have started to go so terribly wrong when George developed a deep fascination for the internet. To begin with it seemed innocent enough. Like many, she came to enjoy getting back in touch with old friends and making new ones. She even signed up to a Facebook campaign group "Against Child Abuse". But then she began geting in touch with and flirting with men. Colin Blanchard was one of them.
Colin Blanchard A businessman from Littleborough, Rochdale, he was nicknamed "Billy Bullshit" by neighbours and used to boast to anyone who would listen that he had a private jet, which he used to transport Liverpool football players around.
He claimed he had made movies and had millions stashed away in Dubai. Certainly, Blanchard did have outward trappings of wealth: Blanchard, a father who was married for 16 years, came to police attention when customs and excise were investigating him in and found indecent images of children on his computer.
He was given a caution because he had downloaded them rather than created or distributed them. Angela Allen The final member of this weird gang of three, she lived rather less grandly than Blanchard in a pebble-dashed council house in Bulwell, Nottingham.
The unemployed single mother once worked as a prostitute and has an old conviction for dishonesty that scuppered her brief career working in a bank — her online alias was "Ang Bank". When police raided her home they found she was living in abject conditions — the place was dirty and there was little furniture or food in the house.
Detectives are still baffled as to how the three found each other. They all independently told officers they met on the social networking site Facebook, though some officers believe actually they may have met on a less savoury part of the internet.
Blanchard told George he had been sexually abused as a child and one theory is that this is how he steered the conversation on to paedophilia. But police insist the three were equal partners in depravity. Indeed, Allen's messages were the most explicit. A central mystery remains how in a few short months Vanessa George, an apparently stable and friendly nursery worker became an abuser of children.