A PENSIONER was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life yesterday as he was jailed for three years for sexually abusing a six-year-old girl in his home.

During his trial, Thomas Meldrew Horseman, 68, denied the offence and several children were called to give evidence, but Teesside Crown Court was told he eventually admitted his guilt to a probation officer in his prison cell.

Yesterday, Judge Guy Whitburn asked Cleveland Child Protection Unit to tell the girl Horseman now admitted he had been lying when he contradicted her evidence.

The judge said it was important the child knew that it was accepted she had told the truth during the trial.

She had been due to fly off on holiday with her family the day Horseman assaulted her in front of her playmates.

Robin Denny, defending, said Horseman had never been in trouble before, there was no evidence of grooming, and Horseman had expressed remorse for the incident.

Horseman, of Arabella Street, Hartlepool, was found guilty of gross indecency.