The leader of an online paedophile ring which drew in four female accomplices has been branded “warped, wicked, dangerous, devious and manipulative” by a judge and warned he may never be released from prison.
IT consultant Colin Blanchard, 40, convinced four women – Vanessa George, 40, Tracy Lyons, 41, Tracy Dawber, 44, and Angela Allen, 40 – to sexually assault young children and share the images.
Mr Justice Royce said the father-of-two’s interest in child sex abuse was “deep-rooted and long-standing”.
He added: “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 the paedophile wheel. Your attempts to paint these women as the 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.”
Blanchard could apply for release after serving a minimum nine years imprisonment, however Mr Justice Royce said the decision would be up to the Parole Board.
“The sentence is an indeterminate sentence of prison for public protection. It is in effect a life sentence,” he said.
Blanchard refused to appear in person to be sentenced because he did not want to share the dock with Dawber.
Also sentenced were Lyons, who was given an extended sentence of seven years – consisting of four years imprisonment and three years on licence – and Dawber who was jailed for four years. Fellow paedophiles Vanessa George and Angela Allen are already serving prison sentences.