A “depraved” 50-year-old man who sexually assaulted a girl of 12 has been warned by a judge he will go to prison for years if he molests a child again.

Waheed Ali, who touched the child on the breast when he came across her walking her dog in the Bradford district, was sentenced to 28 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years.

Ali, of Hastings Avenue, Little Horton, Bradford, pleaded guilty on the day of his trial to sexually assaulting the girl last year.

She had bravely turned up at Bradford Crown Court to give evidence and be cross-examined, prosecutor Mehran Nassiri said.

In her victim personal statement, the girl said she had been upset and anxious since she was assaulted.

Her mother said she was “angry and furious” about what had happened to her daughter.

Ali’s actions had a lifelong impact on the whole family.

Katherine Robinson, Ali’s barrister, said he had never been in trouble before and his offending was a matter of great shame to him.

Miss Robinson told the court that Ali worked hard to support his wife who was not in the best of health.

If he was sent to prison it could only be for a few weeks and no work would be done to address his offending behaviour.

Miss Robinson said that suspending the sentence would allow the probation service to undertake programmes with Ali and that would be the best outcome for the public at large.

Judge Jonathan Rose labelled Ali’s behaviour “disgraceful and disgusting.”

“It was impermissible, unlawful and, for the child, terrifying,” he said.

Judge Rose paid tribute to the girl’s courage and labelled Ali a coward for not owning up sooner to his wrongdoing and for minimising it with the probation service.

Ali had continued to lie until the date of his trial in August this year.

Judge Rose said Ali had behaved in a depraved way when he deliberately touched the girl in the area of her breast.

“She was upset, crying and anxious, and concerned for other children of that age and whether you might do the same to them,” he told Ali.

Judge Rose accepted that Ali was normally a hard working man who lived a quiet life with his wife.

Ali must attend 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days with the probation service and do 200 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Rose reserved any breach of the order to himself, warning Ali: “If you touch a child again, you will go to prison for years.”

Ali was made the subject of a seven-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and he must sign on the sex offender register for seven years.