A taxi driver for disabled and vulnerable children who subjected two terrified girls to a shocking campaign of rapes has been jailed for more than 14 years.
Twisted Lee Collins repeatedly abused one girl from the age of 13 – sometimes with the help of his girlfriend, mum-of-two Claire Ellis, who joined in some of the attacks.
Perverted Collins, also known as Tyler, recorded pictures and video of one of the victims which was later found in a hidden folder on his computer.
The vile predator told his young victims what he was making them do was normal.
Collins used emotional blackmail to get his way and sometimes showed them pornography and repeatedly warned them not to tell anyone what was happening or they would be sent to prison.
The court heard Collins “worked as a taxi driver, which included driving disabled and vulnerable children” although it is not suggested his victim’s were linked to his job.
The abuse came to light earlier this year after an anonymous call was received about Collins’ behaviour and one of the girls was spoken to.
Prosecutor Anne Richardson said: “She burst into tears and disclosed five years of abuse, beginning when she was 13.
“He told her she was not doing anything wrong and that it was normal.
“He also told her not to tell anyone as it was a secret, so she did not.
“He said that if she did tell anyone she would be in big trouble and that nobody would believe her.
“The defendant would remind (the girl) that this was their little secret.”
Collins made the youngster send him naked pictures of herself once or twice a week.
Miss Richardson said: “She describes, in a very embarrassed way, that she would be paid by (the defendant) for making (indecent) videos.
“She said this made her feel dirty and horrible, sick and depressed and after she had made the videos she would sit and cry.”
The shocked teenager later discovered files on his computer containing images and video depicting his abuse of her.
The girl went on to disclose Collins’ partner, Ellis, had also repeatedly sexually abused her from about the age of 16.
Miss Richardson said: “Claire Ellis told (the victim) she did not have to be scared and that she, Ellis, knew about (the victim) and Collins, that it was completely normal, nothing to be ashamed of but that she could not tell anyone as they would all go to prison, including (the victim).”
On one occasion Ellis molested the girl then watched Collins have sex with her in Ellis’ bed.
Miss Richardson said: “She had tears streaming down her face.
“(The girl) walked home and had a shower and cried.”
The court heard Collins had also sent indecent images of her to Ellis, who joined in when Collins was abusing her.
Miss Richardson said of another occasion: “He told her that Claire was going to sleep with her that night whether (the girl) liked it or not and if she was ever asked to join in the fun with him and Claire, she would do so.”
The victim said Ellis had also taken photographs of her undressed to send to Collins and that he would have sex with both of them.
The traumatised victim said: “Although I’ve done nothing wrong I’m really ashamed of it. It makes me feel dirty, it makes me feel upset. It makes me feel like I should be equally punished although I’ve done nothing wrong and that’s why I have to have counselling and stuff like that.”
Collins also videod himself raping the other victim and subjected her to repeated abuse when she was around 16, again warning her not to tell anyone.
He also got her to make indecent videos of herself.
Material featuring both victims and Collins were found on his computer, along with extreme pornography.
Both girls said in victim statements that what happened to them has had a massive effect and ruined their lives.
Collins, 38, of Deneholm, Wallsend, pleaded guilty to 36 sex offences, including multiple rapes, sexual assaults, and indecent images offences. He was jailed for 14 years and five months with an extended licence period of a further eight years.
Ellis, 34, of Kendal Gardens, Howdon, Wallsend, admitted four sexual assault charges and was locked up for two years.
Both were also given sexual harm prevention orders and Collins must sign the sex offenders register for life and Ellis for ten years.
Judge Edward Bindloss told Collins, referring to the first victim: “You manipulated her, you corrupted her, you ruined her childhood – all for your sexual gratification.”
He added: “This was a campaign of rape against two vulnerable people and you took the virginity of both of them.”
Brian Mark, for Collins, said: “He is horrified on reflection at what he has done.
“He is going to be an isolated, lonely man for the rest of his life.
“He is ashamed of what he has done.”
Alec Burns, for Ellis, said references show a different side to her character and that she was manipulated by Collins.
He said: “At the time she was just trying to keep Collins happy. She is remorseful.”