A depraved paedophile ”svengali” who lured women into a sick child sex ring was jailed indefinitely by a judge who described him as ”warped, wicked, dangerous, devious and manipulative”.
Vile Colin Blanchard, 40, befriended four women on the internet – including nursery worker Vanessa George – and encouraged them to abuse children.
Yesterday he was given an indeterminate jail sentence at Bristol Crown Court with a minimum tariff of nine years for sexually abusing youngsters and making, possessing and distributing child pornography.
His lover, care worker Tracy Dawber, 44, was jailed for four years for sexually abusing a five-month old child while he took pictures,
Mother-of-nine Tracy Lyons, 41, – who took pictures of herself abusing a two-year-old boy and sent the pictures to Blanchard – was given a seven year sentence, four of which she will spend in prison and three on licence.
The two other members of the gang – Vanessa George and former prostitute Angela Allen – have already received indeterminate life sentences.
Passing sentence on Blanchard – who refused to come up from the cells to hear his fate – Mr Justice Royce described him as the ”hub of this paedophile wheel”.
He said: ”You are warped, wicked, dangerous, devious and manipulative.
”Your pernicious grooming of women whose sexual interest in children you stimulate then nurture and feed on is plain to see.
”You were the hub of this paedophile wheel.
”Your attempts to paint these women as predators do not fool me for a moment. Even though once drawn in by you they played a full part. If there is a predator in this, it is undoubtedly you.”
IT worker Blanchard, of Littleborough, near Rochdale, Lancs., used websites including Facebook and dating website Plenty of Fish to lure in his accomplices.
He was born in Liverpool to working class parents and was one of two partners in a successful IT company in Manchester.
Blanchard was given a police caution and ordered to sign the sex offender’s register for five years in 2002 for possession of indecent images of children.
He has been married for 16 years and has a five-year-old daughter who attends a private school.
The women never met in person and Dawber – with whom he had a year-long sexual relationship – was the only woman who ever met Blanchard in the flesh.
But he held a ”svengali-like influence” over the women and persuaded them to indulge in his sickening sexual fantasies.
The vile paedophile ring unravelled after the June 2009 arrest of Vanessa George, who worked at Little Ted’s Child Day Care Unit in Plymouth, Devon.
Lyons, a mother-of-nine from Portsmouth, was arrested on October 7 2009 after having an online relationship with Blanchard.
David Morgan, prosecuting, told the court she had admitted abusing a two-year-old boy on November 11, 2008.
She also pleaded guilty to one count of causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and three counts of distributing indecent images.
The court heard she also chatted online to Angela Allen, who received an indeterminate sentence at Bristol Crown Court along with George in December 2009.
Stephen Smyth, defending Lyons, said she had only carried out the offences to please Blanchard and did not get any sexual gratification from them.
He said: ”She meets Mr Blanchard on Facebook and tells him she doesn’t really do much and is tied to her kids.
”He made her feel good about herself. She says she played along to stop him going offline.
”He asks her if she wants to watch an indecent film and she says ‘I don’t know’.
”She admits what she did was disgusting but this was not done with any sexual gratification to herself.
”It was the almost svengali-like hold Mr Blanchard had over her that over-rode her conscience.
”She did not realise the repercussions of her actions.”
Lyons has given birth to her ninth child while in custody and the boy was taken away by social services.
Yesterday the court heard how Lyons had worked in a nursery on two separate occasions in 2008 because she wanted to ”further” her qualifications.
But this was only for three-and-a-half hours in total and at no point was she alone with the youngsters, the court was told.
Community care worker Dawber, of Southport, Merseyside, was the only woman in the ring who actually met Blanchard and went on to have a year-long relationship with him.
They made contact on dating website Plenty of Fish in October 2007.
The pair soon struck up a sexual relationship and on August 20 2008 Dawber held a five-month-old baby while Blanchard took explicit photos on his Nokia mobile phone.
They both sexually touched the baby girl.
But following a tip-off from a colleague, a search of Blanchard’s property was made in June 2009 and a laptop was recovered.
On June 11, 2009, a mobile phone was recovered from his car and indecent images of children were discovered.
Sick Dawber was arrested on November 17, 2009, and denied ever touching the child, but Blanchard told the court she had taken the lead in the abuse.
Greville Davis, mitigating for Blanchard, said his client was a broken man. He claimed his client had been sexually abused and raped as a child and said those incidents bore ”psychiatric scars”.
Blanchard was caught after a work friend logged onto his laptop in June 2009, to find he was logged onto the defendant’s Google mail account.
He found scores of emails containing pictures of abuse and naked photographs of Blanchard and other women – and shopped the balding IT worker to the police.
Mr Davis said: ”Mr Blanchard stands before you a broken man.
”He is remorseful of his actions. He is at a loss to explain why he has done this disgusting behaviour.
”He accepts he will receive a substantial prison sentence. He is outlook when released in years to come is bleak.”
Blanchard’s pleaded guilty to eight counts of making indecent pictures, four of distributing indecent pictures, five of taking indecent photographs and three of sexual assault on a child.
Lyons admitted six counts relating to sexually assault and inciting sexual behaviour in a child under 13 and distributing abuse images.
Dawber was found guilty of sexual assault and five counts of permitting indecent images to be taken.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Royce told the three: ”The case involving the three of you together with Vanessa George and Angela Allen has caused widespread revulsion.
”Your influence Colin Blanchard, described this morning as Svengali like, over four separate women so they engaged in sexual abuse of children of such tender years, is frightening.
”It is the more extraordinary when one appreciates you never actually met three of them face to face.
”It is beyond the ken of decent people how any of you could stoop as disgustingly low as you did.”
In December 2009 Vanessa George, 39, received an indeterminate sentence at Bristol Crown Court with a minimum tariff of seven years.
She admitted seven sexual assaults on children and six counts of distributing and making indecent pictures of children.
At the same hearing Angela Allen, of Nottingham, was also given an indeterminate sentence with a minumum of five years after pleading guilty to four child sex assaults and one count of distributing an indecent image.
They recorded the abuse on their mobile phones and then exchanged the pictures via email, but never actually met in person.