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Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 updated the law, much of which dated back to 1956.

The main provisions of the Act include the following:

  • Rape is widened to include oral penetration
  • Significant changes to the issue of consent
  • Specific offences relating to children under 13, 16 and 18
  • Offences to protect vulnerable persons with a mental disorder
  • Other miscellaneous offences
  • Strengthening the notification requirements and providing new civil preventative orders

Find out more about how we prosecute sexual offences

Vanessa George and Angela Allen sentenced

15/12/2009

Little Ted's Nursery worker Vanessa George was today sentenced with Angela Allen for sharing shocking images of child abuse and sexually assaulting some of the children in her care.

Ann Reddrop, Head of the Crown Prosecution Service South West Complex Casework Unit said: "The court heard details from the prosecution of what these two women have done, but no one who heard what was said in court can begin to understand why these two women committed such shocking acts of child abuse."

Bristol Crown Court heard that Vanessa George and Angela Allen, together with Colin Blanchard, had earlier pleaded guilty to 37 charges involving indecent images and sexual abuse of children.

The women were both charged with possessing, making and distributing indecent images and committing sexual assaults on children, some of them believed to be under a year old. They were charged after an investigation by Greater Manchester Police into Colin Blanchard developed to include four other forces: Devon and Cornwall for Vanessa George; Nottinghamshire for Angela Allen; Merseyside; and Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

Miss Reddrop said: "From the beginning of this inquiry, police officers from Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire and Devon and Cornwall all worked closely with each other and with the Crown Prosecution Service. It is a small comfort that by acting swiftly and by sharing information, the law enforcement agencies were able to ensure these three did not commit even more offences."

It had been expected that Colin Blanchard would be sentenced today alongside Vanessa George and Angela Allen. Although he was in the dock to hear the sentences, he was not actually sentenced for the offences to which he has pleaded guilty.

Miss Reddrop said: "Colin Blanchard was not sentenced today because I am considering further charges in relation to a case in Merseyside, where a woman has been charged with similar offences to those of Vanessa George and Angela Allen. He will be dealt with in due course.

"Even though Colin Blanchard had never met the women who were sentenced today, they regularly shared images of child abuse and were united by their enjoyment of sickening and graphic images of abuse.

"Vanessa George and Angela Allen showed complete disregard for the lives of their victims and their families, all of whom have been left devastated by these crimes.

"They acted in a way that ordinary people will find impossible to understand. Their actions have left the communities where they lived and worked totally shocked that such abuse could be carried out without anyone knowing.

"For Vanessa George in particular, this is an indication of how she has grossly abused the trust which was placed in her by her employers at Little Ted's nursery and the families of the children in her charge.

"In fully outlining the case today, the prosecution has had to go into some detail of what these two women have done to explain to the court the enormity of their offending, so that an appropriate sentence could be passed.

"This detail will have been extremely upsetting for the families of the victims who were in court for the sentencing hearing.

"I hope they can take some comfort from today's sentencing and the fact that every agency involved in this case is working tirelessly to ensure that justice is done."

Ends

  1. For further information contact Julie Seddon, CPS Press Office, 020 7796 8180.
  2. On 1 October 2009 at Bristol Crown Court, Colin Blanchard pleaded guilty to 19 charges; Vanessa George to 13 charges; Angela Allen to five charges. Vanessa George pleaded not guilty to one charge, and this will lie on file.
  3. There are currently two other women charged with offences arising out of the investigation into Colin Blanchard. They are Tracy Dawber in Merseyside and Tracy Lyons in Hampshire. These cases are ongoing and the media is asked to take care not to report anything which may prejudice these cases.
  4. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  5. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 14 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism and the Fraud Prosecution Division. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,250 people and prosecuted 1,032,598 cases with an overall conviction rate of 86.6% in 2008-2009. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  6. The DPP has published his long term vision for the prosecution service and its role within the wider criminal justice system. It includes modernising the service and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of criminal justice - read "The Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard" at www.cps.gov.uk/pps
  7. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol