An international hunt has been launched for an Indian-origin man found guilty of repeatedly raping a six-year-old child in the UK.
Paedophile Vijesh Kooriyil fled to India earlier this week, just a day before his trial was due to commence in Oxford on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old business manager boarded a plane to Delhi on Monday night and was unanimously convicted of two rapes and sentenced in absentia to an extended prison term of 18 years at Oxford Crown Court on Friday, ‘Daily Mirror’ reported.
Kooriyil, who hails from Kerala, had been charged with repeatedly raping the boy after trapping him in his bedroom in Oxford in 2010 and 2011.
He had been permitted to keep his passport under his bail conditions, which were unconditional because he had no previous cautions or convictions.
“Vijesh Kooriyil deployed the all too familiar ways of gaining a child’s trust. He would often call the boy to come and play with him. Some of those games were innocent enough, but others took place in the defendant’s bedroom,” Judge Peter Ross said during sentencing.
“It was there, having secured the door with string and a nail, that the defendant began to rape a six-year-old, then-seven-year-old boy,” he added.
Now a global manhunt is under way for the child rapist from Eastbourne in East Sussex county of England to be brought back to the UK.
Kooriyil had come to UK from India as a student and was living in Oxford when he carried out the abuse.
Prosecutor David Smith told the court the crimes only came to light after the boy started learning about sex at school and realised what had happened to him.
“He started to feel ashamed about what had happened to him, it made him feel angry and confused. He is very suspicious, not with children, but with adults. He cannot understand why he did such a thing to him,” he said.
Kooriyil was summoned by post to attend Oxford Crown Court for trial and attended on November 13 last year to deny both charges.
But he failed to turn up on Tuesday, having ‘misled his solicitors’ and fled the country, before the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
Investigating Officer, Detective Constable Allister Tavner said the police were working with other authorities to bring Kooriyil back to the UK to face justice.
“Kooriyil has been found guilty and sentenced for some extremely serious offences, we are working very closely with the CPS and other authorities in order to locate him,” he said.
“This is in the very early stages but every power available will be used to return him to the UK to serve his sentence,” he added.