“I WAS totally floored” -- that was the reaction of a confidante who was told someone close to her had allegedly been sexually abused when she was a child.

The remark was read out by Judge Edward Burgess in the trial of Martin Collins, who is accused of sexually abusing two girls several years apart.

Summing up the evidence the court had heard before the jury was sent to make its verdict on Collins, of Lower Henley Road, Caversham, the Judge reminded them of what they were told in the days prior.

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This included remarks from a confidante of the first girl to have been allegedly sexually abused by Collins.

When she was told about the alleged abuse during a haircut from the girl in 2018, she said she was “totally floored.”

She added: “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t mention it to anybody [upon request from the girl].”

When in March 2020 it was revealed that Collins had been charged with sexually abusing another girl, the confidante text the first girl saying “it’s happened again.”

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“I said to her if she ever needed to say anything, now was the time.”

Her partner was set to go and console Mr Collins about the allegations when he learned of them.

But he was stopped when she told him the allegations were “true” because he had also abused the first girl, the court heard.

Her partner was said to be “totally shocked” and “in disbelief” at the claims, and they went to the police station the next day to report the alleged abuse the first girl had experienced several years ago.

Judge Burgess also read out character testimonies from people who have met Martin over a number of years.

One said he was a “law-abiding, trustworthy member of society”, while another said he was “lovely and caring”.

The jury was dismissed by the judge to make its decision yesterday at Reading Crown Court (Tuesday, April 27), and is set to reach a verdict in the coming days.

Mr Collins denies five counts of sexual assault of a child under 13; six counts of indecent assault; one count of gross indecency; one count of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity; and one count of assaulting a child under 13 by penetration.

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