Perverting justice | 

Sex offender who missed trial as he travelled to Ireland for funeral is jailed

After hearing that it was thought Elliot may be in Ireland, trial judge James Adkin said there was no good reason why the case could not proceed in his absence
Craig Elliott

Craig Elliott

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A sex offender who travelled to Ireland for a funeral when he was due to appear in Durham Crown Court for trial has been jailed.

Craig Elliott (33) had denied two counts of sexually assaulting a girl under 13 by touching, in offences dating from October 4, 2021.

He appeared at a pre-trial hearing in the case, at Durham Crown Court, in February and was bailed to an address in East Kilbride, Scotland.

But on the day the trial was listed to start, May 9, Elliott failed to appear in court.

After hearing that it was thought Elliot may be in Ireland, trial judge James Adkin said there was no good reason why the case could not proceed in his absence.

The jury found him guilty on both counts on the third day of the hearing.

Judge Adkin imposed a 40-month prison sentence, while also making Elliott subject to registration as a sex offender, “indefinitely”.

He also issued a warrant for Elliott’s arrest.

Following execution of the bench warrant, the defendant appeared at the court on Wednesday, July 27, by video link from nearby Durham Prison.

He faced a new charge over his failure to appear for his trial.

Elliott insisted that he did have a reasonable excuse, and said he had explained this to his solicitor.

But, he agreed to the bail breach when the allegation was put to him again.

His solicitor Paul Newcombe, said: “He would urge me to say there was a death in Ireland and he was called unexpectedly away.

“He apologises. There was no attempt to offend the court.”

Judge Adkin said the evidence was, “overwhelmingly against the defendant.”

The judge added an extra six weeks of prison to the 40-month sentence, imposed for the sexual assaults after the trial, saying there would have to be a short consecutive sentence to mark the breach of bail.

“He was given bail despite the strong evidence against him,” the judge added.

He also imposed a restraining order prohibiting him from approaching or contacting the victim of the sex assaults, for life.

Elliott was also made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, also for life.


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