Paul Anthony child rapist: First picture of male nursery assistant, 20, in court charged with rape of toddler
7th January 2011
This is the first picture of nursery assistant Paul Wilson, 20, who has been remanded in custody, charged with raping a child.
Wilson, of Nechells, Birmingham, was not required to enter a plea when he appeared before the city's magistrates' court.
Wilson, full name Paul Anthony, had worked as a nursery assistant at Little Stars Day Nursery, also in Nechells, for the past 18 months.
He was charged on two counts of the rape of a child under 13, namely a child under the age of two or three years between Jan 1, 2009 and July 30, 2010.
He was remanded in custody after the hearing and is set to appear again on Friday January 14.
Dressed in a dark, hooded coat and blue jeans, Wilson bowed his head during the majority of the four-minute hearing.
He spoke only to confirm his personal details and no application for bail was made on his behalf.
Wilson was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday when officers arrived at his home to carry out a search warrant.
As police closed the privately-run Little Stars Day Nursery to begin forensic examinations, the grandmother of one child said of Wilson: ‘He was such a nice lad. We’re all in such shock at the news.
‘He was always very polite and my grandson took a shine to him.’
Locals said she ran a playgroup in the area.
Police specialists were waiting at the site, in a deprived inner-city district, from 7am yesterday to break the news of the arrest to parents.
Superintendent Matt Ward said the parents were ‘clearly very angry, shocked and wanted to understand what has gone on and what will happen in the future’.
He said a major investigation was still in its early stages but there was currently no evidence to suggest there was more than one offender and one victim at the nursery.
He refused to reveal whether the victim was a boy or girl.
Mr Ward said that as the suspect had worked at the site for 18 months, ‘possibly hundreds’ of families would need to be contacted as part of the investigation.
News of the Birmingham arrest brought fears that Little Stars parents would endure a similar nightmare to those affected by the Vanessa George case in Plymouth.
Care worker George, 40, was jailed indefinitely in 2009 after admitting abusing toddlers at the Little Ted’s nursery and photographing her vile deeds.
The 18-stone married mother of two was one of two women involved in a paedophile ring headed by Colin Blanchard, who she made contact with on the social networking website Facebook.
As a nursery worker Mr Wilson should have been vetted by the Criminal Records Bureau and police and Birmingham City Council said checks to establish whether that was carried out would form part of the investigation.
Following the nursery's closure a telephone line offering advice and support to parents and guardians has been set up. The number is 0121 675 4806
However, as Mr Wilson is understood to have no previous convictions the check was unlikely to have raised any concerns.
HOW CHILDREN ARE PROTECTED FROM PREDATORS
By law, nurseries must check that anyone applying to work unsupervised with children has no criminal convictions.
A full CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) background check is essential before anyone is considered for a job. A good nursery should have a comprehensive recruitment process that stretches beyond a simple interview.
Aside from checking references, some nurseries invite applicants to come in so they can be observed working with the children. Ofsted carries out inspections of nurseries around every four years. Some experts said the case of Vanessa George – who abused toddlers while working at the Little Ted’s nursery in Plymouth – was an ‘aberration’ and is extremely unlikely to happen again, especially as nursery staff will now be even more vigilant.
But a CRB check can highlight only a person’s criminal record, and George did not have previous convictions so raised no suspicions.
Purnima Tanuku, of the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said: ‘Nurseries employ policies and procedures on a daily basis to protect children. This includes regular reviews of performance, and training of staff so they know what to do should they have concerns about anything either in or outside of the nursery.
‘If any parent wants to know more about how their child is protected, NDNA would recommend that they speak to their nursery manager.’
Many of the children attending the nursery were said to come from the local Somalian and Sudanese community.
Parents said they believed Mr Wilson to be the only male member of staff at the nursery.
Sahra Said, 42, whose four-year-old twins go to Little Stars each afternoon, said: ‘He seemed really nice and my sons were really fond of him.’
She said she had not been informed by police about the investigation before arriving at the nursery at lunchtime yesterday.
But Mr Ward said officers wanted to break the news to as many parents as they could in person.
The nursery, based within the listed Nechells Regeneration Project community centre, was issued with an improvement notice by Ofsted last August after an unannounced inspection revealed it did not have an effective procedure for safeguarding children.
The inspection had been prompted by a complaint. The education regulator called for improvements including ensuring ‘adults looking after children have appropriate qualifications, training, skills and knowledge’.
Following a subsequent inspection in November, Little Stars was given a ‘good’ rating and was said to have ‘effective procedures to ensure children are safe and their welfare is promoted, for example, appropriate recruitment and vetting procedures are in place.
‘However, the risk assessments have not yet been completed to ensure children are always in a safe and suitable environment.’
The report said the nursery had 55 children under the age of eight on its roll.