Last Tuesday, Judge Peter Ross of the Oxford Crown Court in the United Kingdom found a 29-year old business manager from India guilty on two counts of rape and sentenced him to a prison term of 23 years.
The judgement was delivered in absentia, as Vijesh Kooriyil, the man found guilty of repeatedly raping a six-year-old child, had fled the country the night before.
Kooriyil who boarded a plane to Delhi on Monday night was termed by the judge as a danger to the public. Vijesh however could escape as his bail conditions allowed him to keep his passport with him as he had no prior cautions or convictions.
The man, whom the UK judge has sentenced to at least 18 years in prison before being eligible for parole (23 years total), married a woman from Palakkad in 2015. (The case against him was filed before his marriage and he had been arrested from Scotland).
Vijesh Kooriyil, hailing from Malappuram landed in the United Kingdom on a student visa a few years ago and committed the crimes while he was in Oxford. (He was subsequently living in East Sussex). According to the judge, âthe six-year-old boy was raped twice a week, or even three times a week at the peak of the offending and that went on until December 2011â.
Vijesh finished his schooling in Malappuram and finished his graduation in computer science at a college in Coimbatore.
A staff at the school told The News Minute that he remembered him as a âharmless childâ, and was shocked when they heard of the heinous crimes he had committed.
Investigating Officer, Detective Constable Allister Tavner told The News Minute, âKooriyil 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 sentenceâ.
What the judge said
âVijesh Kooriyil deployed the all too familiar ways of gaining a childâs 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 defendantâs bedroom,â Judge Peter Ross said during sentencing.
âIt 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,â he added.
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. âHe 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,â 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 âmisled his solicitorsâ and fled the country, before the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
The Mirror UK reported that Judge Peter Ross was upset with the Crown Prosecution Service for charging Vijesh with just two counts of rape, as the abuse was much more sustained.
The judge said: "The indictment that has been prepared by the Crown is inadequate â 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.
With PTI inputs