A retired Army serviceman who indecently assaulted a young girl in the Lake District more than 30 years ago has been sentenced by a judge.

Douglas Brian Edmund Pullen, 67, was handed a suspended jail term at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday (28).

Pullen - said both to have been in the Army and served abroad - admitted indecently assaulting the girl, who was aged 11 or 12 years old at the time. This occurred in the Windermere area during the 1980s.

Prosecutor Richard Haworth told Judge Barbara Forrester the defendant's victim had "bottled matters up" before reporting his criminal conduct many years later.

She had since told police about the impact of his offending upon her.

Mr Haworth said: "In that statement, just summarising it very briefly, she describes the difficulties she has had throughout her life; forming relationships, loving relationships with men.

"And the difficulties that she has had in respect of her own family, particularly since she made the disclosure, and the fact that they simply didn't believe her.

"In light of the defendant's plea," the prosecutor added, "there is hard and fast evidence there."

Pullen had no previous criminal convictions. However, the court heard he had received a caution, in 2001, from Ministry of Defence police in respect of two indecent assault offences involving a different girl.

Barry White, defending, said Pullen was a carer for his wife, who was suffering from ill health.

Pullen's memory of the Windermere incident had been affected by the passage of time. But Mr White said: "He accepts the actions as described by (the victim).

"He tells me he is remorseful."

Having heard mitigation, and considered the contents of a "very detailed" pre-sentence report, Judge Forrester suspended a 12-month jail term for two years.

Pullen, of Newdigate Street, Kimberley, Nottingham, was told he must complete a sex offender treatment course and a rehabilitation requirement.

He must also comply with the strict terms of a sexual harm prevention order, and sign the sex offenders’ register - both for 10 years.