BREAKING: Manhunt for child rapist from Eastbourne

Vijesh Kooriyil
Vijesh Kooriyil

An international manhunt is under way to catch a “dangerous” child rapist who fled to India the night before his trial.

Paedophile Vijesh Kooriyil, 29, repeatedly raped a six-year-old boy - up to three times a week - after trapping him in his bedroom, a court has heard.

The business manager was due to stand trial on Tuesday, but boarded a plane to Delhi on Monday night, after he was allowed to keep his passport.

But a jury unanimously found the sick pervert guilty of two rapes, and he was sentenced to an extended jail sentence of 18 years in his absence.

Now an international manhunt is under way for Kooriyil, from Eastbourne, so he can be brought back to the UK to face justice.

Passing sentence at Oxford Crown Court, Judge Peter Ross branded the abuse “appalling” and said Kooriyil had “degraded and humiliated” the boy.

He found Kooriyil was a danger to the public, and ordered he would have to serve 12 years before being eligible for parole.

He said, “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.

“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.”

Kooriyil came to UK from India as a student, and was living in Oxford when he carried out the abuse.

Prosecutor David Smith said the crimes only came to light after the boy started learning about sex at school and realised what had happened to him.

He said, “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.”

Kooriyil was arrested in Scotland then released on unconditional bail because he had no previous cautions or convictions.

His passport was not seized because his court bail was unconditional, police said.

He was summonsed 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.

Judge Ross blasted the Crown Prosecution Service for only charging Kooriyil with two rapes, when he was sure the abuse was much more sustained.

He said, “The indictment that has been prepared by the Crown is inadequate - it allows only to sentence on the basis of two incidents of rape.

“This is frustrating, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

“This is a case which on the evidence which I accept, the boy was raped twice a week, or even three times a week at the peak of the offending.”

Judge Ross said if the defendant had been present the additional counts could have been put to him and he could have stood trial for them, but in his absence the indictment could not be amended.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Allister Tavner said yesterday police were working with other authorities to bring Kooriyil back to the UK to face justice.

He said, “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.

“This is in the very early stages but every power available will be used to return him to the UK to serve his sentence.”

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