A PERVERT who sexually abused young girls over nearly five decades has been jailed for 16 years.

Colin Dunn, 63, who molested six youngsters, confessed to first striking when he was just a teenager.

Yesterday, Burnley Crown Court heard three of his victims had come forward after learning he had abused other girls.

Dunn, of Cedar Avenue, Haslingden, was given a 32-month sentence in October 2011, for attacking five and six-year-old girls he had befriended in his neighbourhood.

He had lured the youngsters with toys, Easter eggs and promises to look at his animals.

The publicity surrounding the case prompted his other victims to contact the police to report how they too had been abused, the court heard.

Dunn, who suffered a heart attack three years ago and has also been diagnosed recently with diabetes, could well die behind bars, the court was told.

Passing sentence, Judge Beverley Lunt said: “It cannot be said that at any stage of your life you led a blameless exis-tence. For decades you have been a perverted sexual abuser ... who has preyed on young girls.”

The judge said that victim impact statements prepared for the court had made ‘harrowing’ reading.

Dunn admitted seven offences of rape and two charges of indecent assault in the latest case. The girls involved were aged between 11 and 16 at the time.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Nichols said that he told at least one victim that she must keep quiet about the abuse — and no-one would believe her even if she did speak up. The court heard that the defendant, who is now under a lifetime sexual offences prevention order, had been facing possible life impris-onment over his offending.

Hugh Barton, defending, said that his client was in poor health and would only be eligible for release when he was in his 70s.

“He would then be subject to licence and the sexual offences prevention order, and the restrictions imposed on him by the sex offenders register,” said Mr Barton.

Mr Barton said that the defendant wanted to take advantage of any assistance which would challenge his sexual behaviour, while he was in prison.

Det Con Matt Capper, of the Pennine policing division’s public protection unit said: “Dunn is a predatory and dangerous man whose offending spanned decades.

“His offending has not only had significant health implic-ations for his victims but they will now have to live with the this for the rest of their lives.

“They showed immense brav-ery and courage in coming forward. I hope this sentence will offer a degree of closure and allow them to move forward with their lives.”