A mother has criticised a judge for not jailing a pensioner who carried out a catalogue of sexual abuse against her daughter.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the girl, hit out at the suspended prison sentence meted out to 72-year-old Norman Peel at Bradford Crown Court yesterday.

Peel, of Manville Walk, Keighley, tried to bribe the youngster with sweets and money while molesting her over a period of eight years, starting when she was less than ten years old.

He denied any wrongdoing when he was arrested and made no reply when questioned by the police.

Peel pleaded guilty part-way through his trial to six offences of sexual assault and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

His barrister, Jeremy Lindsay, said Peel, of previous good character, wanted to say sorry to the girl.

Judge Colin Burn said the victim must have been terrified and extremely upset.

He sentenced Peel to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Peel must undertake a Sexual Offender Treatment Programme and register with the police as a sex offender for ten years.

A Sexual Offences Prevention Order stops him from contacting his victim or having any unsupervised contact with children.

Judge Burn said Peel’s confession of guilt shortly before the girl was due to give evidence to the court meant he did not have to send him immediately to prison.

After the case, the girl’s mother said: “There is something wrong with the justice system when you let a paedophile walk free and jail people for not paying their Council Tax.”