13 Mar 2019, Katy Morton
Ms Whateley was the former manager of Bushy Tails Day Nursery and Pre-school in Teddington, a workplace nursery operated by Bright Horizons on behalf of the National Physical Laboratory. None of her offences involved children at the setting.
An undercover officer caught Ms Whateley making comments to other users in an online conference room where child sexual abuse was being streamed on 29 August 2017.
She was subsequently arrested, suspended from work and later dismissed.
National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators found an audio recording in which the former nursery manager was heard admitting to being a paedophile and expressing an interest in abusing very small children.
Ms Whateley claimed she had been visiting the conference room for six months to ‘entrap’ paedophiles. However, the NCA did not find any notes or pass any details of offenders she had made to give to law enforcement and she had also deleted nearly all her phone’s contents.
Last week (7 March), she was sentenced for assisting or encouraging the distribution of indecent images by a judge at Guildford Crown Court and given a 30-month community order and 50-day rehabilitation order. She has also been put on the sex offenders register and given a five-year sexual harm prevention order.
A reporting restriction, which meant Ms Whateley couldn’t be named, was lifted by the judge on 11 March after ruling it was in the public interest to reveal she had worked at Bushy Tails Day Nursery and Pre-school. She has also worked at Bright Horizon’s Hampton Wick Nursery and two other settings, one in Teddington and one in Twickenham, London, which is now closed.
Alison Cartmell, specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said, ‘We work tirelessly with partners such as the NCA to make sure those involved in child abuse of any kind are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.’
A spokesperson for Bushy Tails Day Nursery and Pre-school said, ‘We recognise the significant impact that events such as this can have on individuals and families. We are saddened by the events and welcome the conclusion of the National Crime Agency’s investigation. We will always be supportive of outcomes which protect and ensure the safety, well-being and happiness of all children.
‘Since the charge does not relate to our nurseries or the children we care for here, we feel it would be inappropriate to comment further.’