A predatory rapist who targeted children as young as three was dragged back to court after a new victim came forward.

John Phillips, now 50, was previously locked up for 22 years at Liverpool Crown Court in 2018, after raping and sexually assaulting eight young victims.

But another man, who was repeatedly assaulted and raped by Phillips from the ages of three until around 14, did not feel able to come forward until after that case concluded.

Thanks to the man's bravery, Phillips was re-investigated by Cheshire Police and hit with a new 18 count indictment including nine charges of rape, some of which incorporated multiple incidents.

The paedophile was also charged with one count of attempted rape, six counts of indecent assault, and two of indecency with a child.

He pleaded guilty to all offences.

Judge Rachel Phillips, sentencing, said under current legislation several of the indecent assault counts would have been classified as rape of a child - starting from when the victim was just four.

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Phillips, who was living in Winsford at the time of his original arrest but who has links with Widnes and Runcorn, appeared via video-link from HMP Parkhurst.

The paedophile sat with his head bowed as the court heard he groomed his victims by showering them with gifts and money, but also used violence and threats to keep them quiet.

The abuse began when the child was three and dominated almost his entire childhood, leaving him isolated and withdrawn.

Judge Smith described how the first rape occurred when Phillips coaxed the boy, then aged nine, into his flat by saying he had bought a present.

However when the child arrived Phillips, who was drunk, told him he could only have it after they "had sex".

The abuse continued for several years and included a rape in an office where Phillips worked.

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The court heard as the victim got older, Phillips began offering him money after he raped him, as part of a pattern of grooming.

The abuse eventually ended when Phillips moved on to younger children, who formed part of the 2018 case.

Iain Johnstone, defending, said his client had been abused by his own father when he was child and was "sickened" he had done the same thing.

Pictured is Liverpool Crown Court

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Mr Johnstone, describing the contents of a letter written by his client, told the court: "Mr Phillips did not have a very good upbringing from a family point of view.

"He says he was subjected to abuse as he was growing up. He says he just wanted to be loved and tried to kill himself so many times, as he didn't feel good enough.

"He says 'I always said I would never turn out like my dad. To be here today charged with what I have been charged with sickens me. I am grateful [the victims] were strong enough to speak out.

"I am so very sorry, I wish it didn't happen, I wish I could turn back time'."

Judge Smith said that although the abuse happened at the same time as some of the victims involved in the 2018 case, she would have passed a harsher sentence had these offences been revealed.

Phillips' sentence was increased by seven years to a total of 29 years - of which Phillips must serve at least two thirds before he can be considered for release by a parole board.

Due to the severity of his crimes even if he serves the full 29 years in prison he will be subject to an extra four years on licence upon his release.