A PREDATORY paedophile who was being sentenced for child abuse for the sixth time has walked free from court.

Rapist Sidney Hare, 88, repeatedly abused numerous youngsters during a quarter of a century, offering them cash and sweets or inviting them to see his tortoise.

And when he got seven years in 2006 a judge told him his age and ill heath, he was said to have late stage bowel cancer, were the only things stopping him getting life.

Now, almost ten years later, Hare has admitted molesting another youngster in 1981 during the latest depraved attack to come to light.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court the dad of the 10-year-old victim, now a woman in her 40s, had worked with Hare in a factory.

Around Easter time in 1981, he said the girl and her sister were walking past the defendant's house on Thorne Road, Eldene, when they saw him at the door.

He said that he offered them some money and sweets and after giving some to her sister he said he had nothing else in his pockets.

After inviting them into his house he took the little girl upstairs to go through the pockets of other clothes while her younger sister waited downstairs.

The pervert them pushed her on to the bed and climbed on top of her, simulating intercourse, as he pawed at her over her clothing before she fought him off.

Mr Meeke said: "She didn't tell anyone about it, as people didn't in those days.

"It wasn't for some years, until she saw him at a birthday party about 20 years ago, that she first told anybody about it. Then, more recently, she has reported the matter to the police."

When he was questioned by the police he was frank about what had happened and said he recalled the girl's name and that she came to his house.

Hare, now of Ashmead Court, Trowbridge, pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault.

He was jailed for seven years in 2006 after admitting raping and abusing two sisters starting when they were about four between, January 1974 and the end of 1983.

That hearing was told he had advanced cancer of the bowel, asbestosis and a heart pacemaker which had to be refitted every six months.

His first conviction was in 1973 when he received a suspended sentence for two indecent assaults on young girls aged eight and nine years old.

In August 1981 he was put on a two-year probation order for indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl.

Two years later he received another suspended sentence for abusing the sister of the young girls he raped.

And in 2004 he was jailed for 12 months for indecent assaults on an eight-year-old girl dating from 1995 and 1996.

Nicholas Clough, defending, said that the indecent assault was not the worst and was carried out on top of the victim's clothes.

He said his client was now in his later eighties, had two forms of cancer, and probably would have received a probation order had the matter been dealt with at the time.

"Not only would it be harsh on a man of his age to go to prison but when he came out he would probably be homeless," he said.

Passing sentence Judge Peter Blair QC said: "I have to punish you for something you did 35 years ago.

"In reality if it had been reported back then I expect you would have had probation as the sentence."

He imposed an 18-month community rehabilitation order and told him to register as a sex offender for five years, though he has to register for life under his last sentence.