A MAN described as "the dark heart" of a paedophile ring tried to recruit dozens of women to lure children into his net.
Colin Blanchard (40) created the ring with nursery worker Vanessa George. He used Facebook and a dating website to meet and then groom the women who fell under his Svengali-like influence.
Yesterday he was warned he could spend the rest of his life behind bars as he was jailed alongside three of the women in Britain's most notorious paedophile ring.
His phone records showed the names and email addresses for dozens of women who he also tried to recruit into his world of sexual depravity.
Messages between him and George also revealed he loitered in public parks and Starbucks fantasising about abusing children and had asked the nursery worker to drug and photograph youngsters.
George (40), who abused dozens of infants in her care at Little Ted's Nursery in Plymouth, Devon, is already serving an indeterminate sentence for abusing youngsters in her care.
Yesterday at Bristol Crown Court, Blanchard was given a similarly indeterminate sentence that will amount to a minimum of nine years.
Sentencing Blanchard, Mr Justice Royce branded him "warped, wicked and dangerous".
Tracy Lyons (41) and Tracy Dawber (44), who Blanchard recruited into a spiral of abuse that saw children raped on camcorder by paedophiles, were also jailed for four years.
A catalogue of messages stored on Blanchard's iPhone showed the level of depravity to which he had stooped. George labelled herself his "paedo whore mum".
To this day the couple have never met outside a courtroom. But for months they used internet chatrooms and mobiles to carry on an increasingly perverted cyber-relationship.
As well as swapping images of actual abuse, they fantasised about abducting and killing a child.
Elsewhere on the iPhone he had stored the names and photographs of dozens of women he tried to recruit to his paedophile ring. He met them on Facebook and dating site Plenty of Fish but most of the women he approached withdrew contact the moment his text chat veered from conventional sexuality to the abuse of children.
A message from George revealed that Blanchard had taken to roaming parks in the hope of seeing mothers with their young children.
He also became a regular customer at branches of Starbucks, hoping to catch glimpses of babies being changed.
The texts showed she shared his liking for Starbucks, and wrote: "I thought about you today. The parks were full of little ones x."
Meanwhile, Dawber (43) invited him to her home in Southport, Merseyside, with the come-on: "I've got something for you". Once there she held the infant she was babysitting on her lap so he could take a series of perverted photographs.
Lyons (40), a mother of nine from Portsmouth, was also lured into the ring and later confessed to her crimes.
The violent paedophile refused to enter the dock for sentencing. But through his barrister Mr Justice Royce told him: "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 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".
Lyons, who performed a sex act on a two-year-old boy, and Dawber, who allowed Blanchard to take photographs while she abused a baby girl, were each jailed for four years.
The fifth member of the ring, Angela Allen (40), a one-time prostitute from Nottingham, has already been jailed for her abuse of a girl to whom she had access.
Police infiltrated the ring when one of Blanchard's colleagues viewed disturbing images of child abuse on his laptop. ( © Daily Telegraph, London)