A RAPIST who went on the run halfway through his trial has been sentenced to ten years in prison.
Jason Jeffcoate (40) was found guilty last September of raping a six-year-old girl in Maltby around 20 years ago.
Jeffcoate, who has a history of homelessness, absconded during the trial and was found guilty in his absence.
He was found and arrested by police after four days of being on the run sleeping rough in London and was finally sentenced last Friday at Sheffield Crown Court.
Recorder Abdul Iqbal QC said Jeffcoate had raped the victim after inviting her and her friend into his home.
“While one of the girls played in the garden, you spoke inappropriately to the victim,” he said.
“You asked her if she wanted to see ‘your bits’ and she declined.”
Jeffcoate then raped the girl while her friend was outside.
The victim did not tell anyone about the abuse until she was a teenager and reported the attack to police in 2015.
The recorder said the impact of Jeffcoate’s abuse had been “profound” and the victim’s life had been “turned upside down”.
He added: “She’s matured into a fine young woman with her own family. In my judgement you could not care less about your offending.
“It was a cruel and shameless crime against a vulnerable victim who had little opportunity to protect herself.”
Mr James Gould, mitigating, said Jeffcoate had learning difficulties and “was a vulnerable adult” with low levels of intelligence.
Mr Gould said: “He failed to surrender during the trial. That was an act born out of panic and fear and was not somebody who was looking to sabotage the trial.”
Jeffcoate, of no fixed abode, was also sentenced to two months in prison for failing to surrender to court, which will run consecutive to the ten-year sentence for rape.
Investigating officer Det Con Joanne Smithson said: “The victim in this case has shown immense courage and bravery in coming forward to tell us what happened to her.
“She had made disclosures to family members before but hadn’t felt ready to report it to officers.
“Thankfully, she came forward in 2016 and we were able to quickly arrest Jeffcoate and bring him before the courts.
“Despite trying to avoid trial, he was convicted in his absence and was arrested in London shortly after, where he has remained in custody ever since.
“He has shown no remorse for the devastating impact he has had on this woman’s life and I’d once again like to praise her for coming forward to report what happened.
“I hope that knowing Jeffcoate will be behind bars for the next decade will offer her some closure.
“All victims of sexual offences, no matter when the offence took place, are encouraged to get in contact with us.
“We will look in to and thoroughly investigate all cases and do whatever we can to secure convictions and bring offenders before the courts for these heinous crimes.”
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