A PAEDOPHILE pensioner who sexually abused a six-year-old girl has been told he is likely to die in prison.

Thomas Cattermole also attempted to sexually assault another “vulnerable” child while in his 80s.

The 84-year-old was jailed for seven years by Judge Christopher Parker QC, who described his behaviour as “monstrous”.

In sentencing, Judge Parker said Cattermole, who has a number of illnesses and conditions, was likely to spend the remainder of his life behind bars.

Southampton Crown Court was told how Cattermole had targeted two girls, one in the 1960s and another in 2017.

The court heard how Cattermole’s first campaign of abuse began in the early 1960s, when his victim was six.

Prosecutor Rose Burns said Cattermole had forced the girl into performing various sex acts on him.

He also sexually touched her, when she was 15.

His victim said the abuse had left her with urges to take her own life.

She said: “I wanted to escape the abuse that haunted me.

“Childhood should hold the happiest memories, but that isn’t the case for me.”

The victim said she did disclose the abuse as she was scared of Cattermole.

His crimes finally came to light in 2017, when he attempted to abuse another child, aged six.

The court was told he invited the girl, described as “especially vulnerable”, to sexually touch him on a number of occasions.

Cattermole was caught when the girl disclosed the abuse. His other victim then came forward.

The former delivery driver denied the allegations.

A jury found him guilty of three counts of indecency with a child, one count of indecent assault and another of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Mitigating, Sarah Jones said Cattermole suffered from a number of illnesses and conditions, including hypertension and diabetes, and was likely to die in prison.

She said: “For him, it is a bitter end to a life which other than this has been lived working and getting on with things in a relatively unobtrusive and unremarkable way.

“His offending has caused desperate pain, not only to his victims, but to his wife.”

Judge Parker said Cattermole legally had to be sentenced for his historic offences in line with legislation at the time – when they carried significantly lower sentences.

He later described Cattermole’s behaviour as “outrageous”.

Judge Parker said: “Your victim grew up bearing the scars of your abuse and kept it from others for years. She was wrongly, but understandably, feeling ashamed.

“She had nothing to be ashamed about, you had much to be ashamed about.

“(Your second victim) you must have understood she was especially vulnerable.”

Judge Parker said Cattermole, of Victoria Road, Netley Abbey, would serve three and a half years of his seven year sentence behind bars.

Cattermole was also made subject of an added one year extended licence period.