The female nursery worker charged with sexually assaulting children in her care was today spat at and attacked as she appeared in court for the first time.
In Plymouth magistrates court there was hissing and catcalls from the public gallery, which held several relatives of children who attended the nursery, as Vanessa George, 39, emerged from the steps below the dock.
There were gasps of horror as the charges, dating back to the beginning of 2007, were read out and one man ran from the court in tears. As she was led from the glass-bound dock in court number one, a man in a red T-shirt leapt from the public gallery and spat at her.
One mother shouted: Look us in the face, Vanessa. Mrs George did not respond and kept her head down.
A police van carrying her was later pelted with flour as she left the building.
A crowd of around 30 parents and protesters gathered outside jeered and tried to bang on the windows. One man was arrested by police officers who escorted the van to the main road.
Two men, one wearing a suit and the other wearing a red T-shirt, were taken away by police officers after blocking the path of the police van.
Mrs George, from Plymouth, Devon, who worked at Little Teds nursery in the city, had been brought to the court building in a marked police van with blacked-out windows, tailed by two support vehicles, at 7.10am.