Paedophile Vanessa George has been urged once again to end the suffering of parents and reveal the identity of her young victims.
Plymouth MP Luke Pollard told the House of Commons that the former nursery worker‘s silence allows her to “maintain a power” over some of her victims.
Mr Pollard’s plea came as key legislation, known as “Helen’s Law”, moved closer to becoming law.
The MP led the campaign to change the law, and has finally seen this come to fruition as the Prisoners (Disclosure of Information) Bill passed its final stage in the Commons today.
The Bill is named after Helen McCourt, whose murderer Ian Simms was released from prison earlier this year despite never revealing where her remains are.
The legislation places a statutory obligation on the Parole Board to take into account specific offenders’ non-disclosure of certain information when making a decision about their release from prison.
George was jailed indefinitely in 2009 and told to serve a minimum of seven years behind bars for abusing toddlers at Little Ted’s Nursery in Plymouth. She was convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse and taking and distributing indecent images of children, and released from prison in 2019 after serving 10 years.
She has not released information which would properly pinpoint those in the pictures she took.
The new law applies to prisoners serving a sentence for murder or manslaughter or for taking or making an indecent photograph of a child.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport) said: “We don’t believe every child at Little Ted’s Nursery was abused by Vanessa George but we don’t know which child was.
“That means every single family that sent their most precious gift in the world, their child, to this nursery is living with the uncertainty whether it was their child that was abused or not, whether it is their child whose image of that abuse is festering on some dark corner of the web.
“That is a cancer that eats away at you and the courage and determination of the families throughout this has been a real source of strength to me.”
He concluded his speech by saying: “The final remark on this is to Vanessa George herself.
“She maintains a power over the victims by withholding the names.
“She will know the names of some of the children she abused and photographed and shared the images of.
“Wherever she is in Britain at this point, she could help those families relieve part of their suffering and uncertainty by naming some of the children she abused.
“She must know the names, she must know that naming the kids would enormously help the healing process and is something I appeal to her to do because for as long as she holds those names, those families will not have peace, and I think that’s a really important part.”
He added later: “I want to thank the family members who have worked on this campaign. As their children are still at school, I cannot name each of them, but I want to thank them for their courage in speaking out and determination to see the law changed. We are nearly there now and I am hopeful that these measures will become law by Christmas with improvements in communication starting to roll out from the New Year.”
The House of Lords had amended the Bill in a bid to ensure the families of some victims were kept informed when their killer or abuser is seeking release from prison.
They supported a proposal designed to prevent the distress suffered by relatives when they find out about an offender being freed via the press or social media.
Justice minister Chris Philp said what the amendment sought to achieve is already done by other means, explaining a Victim Contact Scheme already exists.
Mr Philp added a pilot scheme has been running on making communications with victims and their families automatic unless they opt-out, telling MPs: “Subsequent to the House of Lords consideration of this matter, a decision has been taken to roll out that programme on a national basis, as part of the new Victims’ Code – which we expect to come into operation early 2021.”
Mr Philp said talks would take place between the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, MPs, victims and families about improvements to the contact scheme.
The Bill now requires final approval from the Lords and, if no further amendments are made, it will progress towards receiving royal assent.