Paedophile ring leader Colin Blanchard loses parole bid to be freed from jail

The leader of an online paedophile ring who convinced women to abuse children has lost a parole bid to be freed from jail amid concern over his “extreme sexual interests”.

IT consultant Colin Blanchard, considered one of Britain’s worst paedophiles, was branded “warped, wicked, dangerous, devious and manipulative” by his sentencing judge who said his crimes caused “widespread revulsion and disbelief”.

The father-of-two, from Rochdale, was warned he may never be released from jail when he was handed “in effect” a life sentence, known as an indeterminate imprisonment for public protection, in 2011.

The judge ordered him to serve a minimum of nine years behind bars before he could be considered for release after Blanchard admitted a string of more than 20 charges.

In a hearing behind closed doors last month as part of his first parole review since sentencing, Blanchard said he wished to be freed from jail.

But the Parole Board found his sexual interests were “pervasive”.

“Mr Blanchard caused very serious harm to victims through his offending,” the panel said on Thursday.

“After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was not satisfied that release at this point would be safe for the protection of the public.”

The 53-year-old was “not prepared to acknowledge” his feelings may return after he claimed to no longer experience extreme sexual fantasies, according to papers documenting the decision.

While Blanchard had accepted “greater responsibility” for his crimes, the parole panel still found evidence of “minimisation and deflection” and questioned whether he “truly understood his extreme sexual interests.”

“He had developed a clear preference for prepubescent children and bestiality, with, in the panel’s view, a fetish of parents having sex with their own children”, the document said.

Blanchard enlisted four female accomplices – Vanessa George, Tracy Lyons, Tracy Dawber and Angela Allen – to sexually assault young children and share images after meeting them over the internet.

A work colleague called police after finding child sex abuse images on Blanchard’s computer in 2009 and detectives then identified Plymouth nursery worker George, mother-of-nine Lyons, community care worker Dawber and former sex worker Allen as being the other members of the gang.

Blanchard will be eligible for another parole review in around two years’ time.