Ipswich: How many more times did sex predator Phil Collins strike?

QUESTIONS were being asked today about how many more historic sex attacks could predator Phil Collins have committed.

The 53-year-old rapist, formerly of Dickens Road, Ipswich, yesterday admitted indecently assaulting a 19-year-old woman in 1991.

He had previously been convicted in 2010 and 2011 of stranger rapes in Ipswich after women were targeted by a masked attacker in 1987 and 1990.

The attacks took place in the Christchurch Park area and in Gippeswyk Park.

Today, the former husband of Collins’ 1987 victim is wondering if there are still unsolved cases involving the rapist.

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“The fact this case has come up after the two previous convictions does raise a concern that there may well be others,” he said.

Collins was suspected of another rape in Chesterton Close, Ipswich, in September 1986. However, although he was arrested in 2009, detectives did not have enough evidence to charge him.

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Yesterday at Basildon Crown Court Collins was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for dragging a teenage woman into an industrial estate and making her perform a sex act on him in 1991.

However, the sentence will be served concurrently with the 13-and-a-half year jail term he is already serving for stranger rapes in Ipswich, meaning Collins will be eligible to apply for parole in only five years.

The father-of-three pleaded guilty to indecent assault at his latest court appearance via video link from Chelmsford prison.

It is understood Collins - who changed his name from Holland and has also been known as Philip Treble, had been visiting a close relative in South Ockendon, near Basildon - when he attacked his 19-year-old victim on May 27, 1991.

Prosecutor Peter Gair told the court the teenager had been walking home following a night out with friends when she heard a man running behind her.

The court heard Collins put his arms across her face, grabbed from behind, and dragged her towards a dark area of a nearby industrial estate, telling her: “Shut up and do what I want.”

She tried to fight him off as he managed to get her through a fence and to a brick wall.

Collins started unbuttoning her jeans and touched her breasts. He then made her perform a sex act on him.

Collins asked her to perform a second sex act, but she refused, all the time believing she would be raped, said Mr Gair.

He also described the teenager as being “absolutely terrified”. Eventually Collins ran off, but left his DNA at the scene.

Collins was eventually arrested last year after being caught through advances in DNA following a cold case review by Essex Police.

Neil Guest, mitigating, said Collins’s life was a mess at the time of the offence.

“There was a stage in his life when he went completely off the rails. He had a disabled son who died. During that period of time his life was a blur.”

The court heard Collins had turned to substance misuse and alcohol.

Mr Guest said Collins had eventually settled down with a partner and they had three children together. However, now he has been shunned by his family.

Collins pleaded not guilty to a further offence of kidnapping, which will lay on file.

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