A TEENAGER who carried out a sickening sex attack on a four-year-old girl inside a Cradley Heath church has been allowed to keep his freedom.

Judge Amjad Nawaz told the 17-year-old that if he had been an adult he could have been given a life prison sentence for his assault on the vulnerable youngster, whose parents were attending a service.

But the judge ruled it was more important the teenager received help and guidance to prevent him from having another “moment of madness” in the future.

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had no explanations for behaviour that had badly affected the life of the little girl, said John Dove, defending.

He told Wolverhampton Crown Court he had been trusted to look after young children at the church while parents attended services and he was totally ashamed of his actions.

“The youth has accepted his guilt after initially denying what he had done,” said Mr Dove. “And reports say he is someone who is at low risk of offending again in the future.”

The teenager, who was 16-years-old when he committed the offence, admitted assaulting the girl and was made the subject of a two year youth rehabilitation order.

He was further told he must remain under supervision for two years and further ordered to register as a sex offender for the next 30 months.

The judge also made a restraining order forbidding him from having any contact with the girl or her family in the future.

Raj Poona, prosecuting, said the sex attack came to light when the girl told her mother what had taken place at the church.

The girl later told police officers she had been extremely upset about what happened and it had left her “scared”.

Miss Poona said it was a serious offence because there was an element of grooming. The teenager, she went on, had shown affection to the girl on an earlier occasion.

“There is a high category of harm in this case because of the age of the child,” she told the court. “The parents had left her because they believed she would be safe.”