Chelmsford sex attacker who fled country during trial is jailed for eight years after being found in Kosovo

By YA Reporter in Crime

A CHELMSFORD man has been jailed for a series sex offences against an 18-year-old woman.

Blerim Hajdarmataj, 24, of Sunrise Avenue, fled the country halfway through his trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, but was convicted in his absence of sexual assault, serious sexual assault and rape.

He was found in Kosovo two weeks ago* and flown home under a European Arrest Warrant.

He was sentenced yesterday to eight years in prison.

Hajdarmataj, a cleaner, bought a drink for his victim at a bar in Chelmsford on September 3, 2014.

Her last memory, said Essex Police, was ’feeling like the room was spinning’.

Despite having told Hajdarmataj she did not want to go home with him, she woke up in his bed the following day.

She had ’scratches, bruises and bite marks on her body and her clothes had been removed’, police said.

She fled the house and flagged down a car. Hajdarmataj chased her out and was later arrested.

DI 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."

*UPDATE: Essex Police initially reported that Hajdarmataj was found two weeks ago in Kosovo, but has since issued a correction to say he was found in November.

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