Sex offender who fled the UK jailed for eight years
A man who fled the country during a trial for sex offences has been jailed for eight years after being found guilty in his absence.
Blerim Hajdarmataj, 24, of Sunrise Avenue, Chelmsford, was due to stand trial for attempted rape, sexual assault and serious sexual assault at Chelmsford Crown Court last September.
He fled the country during the court case but the trial continued and he was convicted by a jury in his absence.
A European Arrest Warrant was issued and he was located in Kosovo.
Hajdarmataj, a cleaner, was flown back to the UK on Friday, February 10 and was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday, Monday, February 13.
He had bought a drink for an 18-year-old woman at a Chelmsford bar on September 3, 2014, and her last memory was feeling like the room was spinning.
She had declined his request to go home with him but woke the following day in his bed. She had scratches, bruises and bite marks on her body and her clothes had been removed.
The victim, from Hornchurch, fled and flagged down a passing motorist for help. Hajdarmataj, who had chased her out of the address, was later arrested.
Speaking after the hearing, senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Terry Balding said: “Hajdarmataj took advantage of a vulnerable woman in the most horrendous and vile way.
“He has shown no remorse for his actions, which have had a lasting effect on the victim.
“By fleeing the country during his trial, he put her through more fear and pain.
“I would like to thank her for her strength in providing evidence throughout the case. The result is testament to her, investigating officer Detective Constable Jo Cooper, the National Crime Agency and the police in Kosovo.
“The sentence passed by the court sends a strong message to people fleeing our country on serious charges - we will go to all lengths to bring you back to this country to face justice.”
Miles Bonfield, international operations manager at the National Crime Agency, said: "The NCA and its partners will stop at nothing to track down fugitives.
“Blerim Hajdarmataj thought he could evade justice but we used our international network to find him.
"After locating him in Albania, our officers monitored his movements and instigated his arrest when he crossed the border into Kosovo.
"As a result of joint working with Essex Police and the Kosovan authorities, Hajdarmataj was returned to the UK and is now in jail where he belongs."