A rapist who attacked a ‘vulnerable’ drunk student just eight minutes after she got into his taxi has been handed an 11-year prison sentence.
But he wasn’t around to be jailed because he fled the country midway through his trial.
Syrian-born Sultan Amari abused his position of trust as a cab driver to deliver his passengers to their chosen destinations safely on July 11 last year, when he picked up a young woman who was ‘obviously’ intoxicated in Chester city centre.
He took her to a house he owned on Sealand Road – unfurnished except for a mattress – where he raped her twice over a period of around eight hours.
A Warrington Crown Court jury of seven women and five men took just over six hours to find him guilty by majority of two counts of rape today(September 28).
But 46-year-old Amari, of Chester Road in Flint, did not hear their declaration of his guilt because he did a runner to Turkey midway through giving evidence.
The father-of-one was due to continue being questioned by the prosecution on Monday, but instead he sent an early morning email to the court telling them he had no intention of returning.
Checks made on Amari’s passport by police sensationally revealed that he had in fact boarded a plane on Sunday night and landed in Istanbul on Monday morning, breaching his bail conditions.
The case continued in his absence and the jury only received the explanation as to his mysterious departure after they returned their verdicts.
The six-day trial heard that his victim initially had no memory of what had happened between leaving a bar in the city centre and waking up the following morning, naked and with no idea where she was.
She later had a flashback that she had woken up in a dark room, lying face-down on a mattress and unable to move her arms or open her eyes, with a man having sex with her.
But Amari, who was living at an address on Colwyn Close in Ellesmere Port at the time, insisted that she had instigated sexual activity and had ‘absolutely’ consented.
Sentencing Amari to 11 years for each count of rape – to be served concurrently – Judge Tina Landale said: “This was a gross breach of trust with a very vulnerable woman.
“CCTV showed that she was totally incapable of walking in a straight line and she was obviously drunk.
“The public are entitled to be protected by people like Mr Amari but intstead he exploited and took advantage of her.”
The victim’s personal impact statement was read to the court, in which she told of how her previous self-confidence has been destroyed by the attacks and she now struggles with severe anxiety and stress.
She said her relationship with her mother has suffered, as she feels she cannot be as open about her feelings for fear of upsetting her.
She will never get in a taxi ever again, she added.
A Cheshire Constabulary spokesperson said: "Amari is currently wanted on warrant which was issued by the court. Anyone with information on Armari’s whereabouts or who has seen him should contact Cheshire Police on 101. Alternatively information can be given anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 55 111."