A man from Tyttenhanger near St Albans who raped a nine-year-old girl when he was a teenager was jailed for four years on Wednesday.
Lachlan Gillies sexually abused the girl on four occasions in 1999 when he was aged 14 or 15. He forced her to perform oral sex on him on three occasions and raped her once.
Gillies, now 29, of Tillage Close in the village, was convicted at St Albans Crown Court of one charge of rape and three of indecency with a child.
He had denied the charges during his trial, but his lawyer Andel Singh said on Wednesday that Gillies had now admitted his guilt to a probation officer, who prepared a report on him.
Mr Singh said: "There is a genuine sense of remorse from Mr Gillies about the way he behaved as a young man. He feels disgusted with himself. The whole episode has been eating away at him for the whole of his life." He said the fact that he had now admitted his guilt may be of some comfort to the victim.
He has committed no further sexual offences against children and had shown no signs of having a sexual interest in children, he said. The judge was handed letters supporting Gillies from his current partner and daughter.
The court heard that Gillies had confessed to the offence to his then partner in 2008, but the police were not told until January last year when they were contacted by another woman.
Judge Stephen Warner also ordered him to register as a sex offender for life. He told him: "The victim was young, vulnerable and confused. You used her as an outlet for your sexual urges. She told no-one for many years. She did not think she would be believed."