A PAEDOPHILE who claimed his victim had made up a campaign of sexual abuse against her has been jailed for 12 years, despite asking for a “merciful” sentence, which was rejected out of hand by the judge.

Gary Collins subjected the girl, who was under 14 at the time, to a horrific ordeal over a number of years in Colchester.

The 56-year-old, a former musician from Colchester, but whose address is listed as Harrow, London, was handed a total sentence of 21 years in jail but will serve just 12 years.

Collins, who suffered an unrelated traumatic brain injury a year after the abuse ended, had claimed the victim and her mother had been “trying to get him in trouble”.

He also pleaded with the court to exercise “mercy” because he is now a vulnerable adult who needs special care and suffers with depression and “despair” after being in a coma for three months.

But jailing him at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday, Judge Martyn Levett said he did not believe Collins’s allegations and said there were no grounds for a “merciful” sentence.

He said: “You said the victim had made it up but I do not believe it for one second.

“You claimed there was a secret recording which had the victim and her mother plotting to get you into more trouble.

“But there is no evidence of that.

“That you suffered a traumatic brain injury, may, just may, account for those comments.”

He added: “You started by touching her breasts in Colchester in 2011.

“That touching appears to have stopped for six months but it started in the spring of 2012 and increased to once or twice a week.

“Her silence was bought because you did not want anyone to know what was going on.”

Collins had denied three counts of sexual touching, two counts of a sexual assault, one count of rape and one count of attempted rape.

But he was found guilty by a crown court jury after a three-day trial.

He was sentenced to 12 years in jail for rape and attempted rape, three years in jail for sexual touching and six years in jail for the sexual assault.

The sentences will run concurrently.

His name will also automatically be added to the sex offenders’ register and he was made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

Judge Levett added: “The effect on the victim has been significant and it has caused her to have episodes during the night.

“I was asked to take a merciful course but there are no reasons anyone has drawn to my attention why that should be the case.”