A convicted paedophile allowed to walk free from court might be put behind bars after all.

Nelson Doe, 61, of Hillside, Patching, near Worthing, pleaded guilty to three charges of "sexual activity" with an under-age girl last month.

But after hearing a glowing character reference from Doe's daughter, Judge Thorpe told him at Chichester Crown Court he would not be sent to jail unless he re-offended in the next two years.

The Crown Prosecution Service submitted an appeal to the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, who has passed the sentencing to the Court of Appeal. A hearing is expected in a few weeks' time.

The mother of Doe's 15-year-old girl victim said it was "brilliant news".

She said: "I hope he goes down for a long time but we'll just have to wait and see.

"He should have been jailed in the first place and the last few weeks have been horrendous.

"He has been so arrogant about being out and about, laughing in the face of justice, and it's been so upsetting for my daughter. The sentence undermined the seriousness of the crime and made it look as if it was all a big lie.

"She felt she put herself through the whole process for nothing. I've had to tell her what she did was right and the authorities recognised what he did was wrong. Unfortunately the punishment didn't fit the bill."

The trial heard Doe admitted twice having sex with the girl and intimately touched her between September 2004 and September 2005.

He was expected to be jailed for two years but instead Judge Thorpe sentenced him to 51 weeks in custody, suspended for two years, and ordered him to pay £700 costs.

Doe was put on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years and disqualified from working with children.

His daughter Emma Doe, 32, told the court how well Doe had brought her up, along with her two brothers and sisters, after their mother left him. He had to stop working shortly afterwards after suffering injury in a car crash.

Sentencing Doe, Judge Thorpe said: "You have escaped prison by a hair's breadth because of your daughter. This is a remarkably lenient sentence."

The girl, who self-harmed for two months and ran away after details of the abuse were revealed to her family, said afterwards she felt let down by the justice system.

She said: "If I knew what I do now I wouldn't have gone ahead with the case. He's still free to go and do it to other people."

The sentence sparked outrage among children's charities. Kidscape spokeswoman Nikki Kerr said: "I am shocked, horrified and disgusted. This man who has abused a child is a nasty piece of work and has practically got away with it."

The Argus would like to clarify Nelson Doe, 64, of Durrington Lane, Durrington, is not connected or associated in any way to the case of Nelson Doe, 61, of Hillside, Patching.