Jason Longhurst, 44, of York, was found guilty earlier this month of the historic rape and strangulation of a teenage girl who had been a guest in his family home at the time. He was sentenced to nine years in prison - but did not attend court and has not been traced. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Police have made 'numerous enquiries' over his whereabouts and a fresh appeal for information has been released.
Detective Inspector Warren Peters said: “Despite our extensive enquiries Longhurst currently remains outstanding. We will continue the search for him but I would also ask the public to continue to keep an eye out for Longhurst and to remain vigilant for any sightings of him.
“We know Longhurst sometimes uses the name Jason Welsh and that he has connections to the Cardiff area. Our colleagues at South Wales Police have been assisting us with our enquiries and supporting our wanted appeal, but there is the possibility that Longhurst could now be anywhere in country. So, we are widening our appeal and requesting the public’s continued support with our search.
“If you see Longhurst please report any immediate sightings to North Yorkshire Police via 999 quoting reference 12210196408. If you have any other information which would assist our enquiries please dial 101 and pass that information on to our Force Control Room. If you would prefer to remain anonymous Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111.”
The court heard how he entered the bedroom his victim was staying in and made threats towards her. He then strangled her with a jumper until she became unconscious and went on to rape her.
Sections from the victim’s personal statement were read out in court, where she described the horrendous attack that Longhurst subjected her to at such a young age, and how she felt her dignity and teenage years had been taken from her by his sickening actions. She also spoke about how the attack affected her into adulthood and that she only felt strong enough to report the crime to police over 10 years later following counselling.
Speaking about the sentence handed to Longhurst, investigating officer Sergeant Hannah McPeake said: “The sentence handed to Longhurst confirms him for exactly what he is - a sickening predator who preyed on a young girl, who should have been safe in his family home.
“When interviewed, Longhurst actually said he was disgusted with the allegations which had been made against him and pleaded not guilty - despite the evidence that was laid out before him. He has shown no remorse for his actions or the pain he has inflicted on his victim, pain which she carries to this day.
“I’d like to commend the bravery of the victim. To have reached a point in her life where she felt strong enough to come forward and tell police what had happened to her all those years ago takes immense courage, for which she should be recognised. I hope this outcome allows her to move forward with her life into more positive times."