A Flintshire taxi driver sentenced to 11 years in jail after raping a student twice following a night out has fled the country, a court has heard.
Syrian-born Sultan Amari, 46, from Flint, was due to return to the trial on Monday but sent an email saying he had no intention of returning.
He boarded a flight to Istanbul on Sunday and it is understood he could be headed for Syria.
He was convicted in his absence at Warrington Crown Court.
The last time the father-of-one attended the court was on Friday when he was giving evidence.
A warrant has been issued for Amari’s arrest and police enquiries to trace his whereabouts are ongoing.
During the trial he claimed sex with his victim had been consensual after he had picked her up and had taken her to a house he owned in Chester in July last year.
When it became apparent Amari was not going to turn up at court, the judge Tina Landale told the jury: “All I can say to you is he is not here and we are going to continue with the trial.”
She ordered an investigation into how Amari managed to breach his bail conditions and leave the country.
The court had heard how his victim could not recall anything that happened in between leaving a bar in Chester and waking up naked and alone in an unfamiliar house where he raped her twice over a period of about eight hours.
But she later had a flashback that she was lying face-down on a mattress, unable to move her arms or open her eyes, with a man having intercourse with her.
Amari was given 11 years for each count of rape to be served concurrently.
Judge 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 instead he exploited and took advantage of her.”
The victim said her relationship with her mother has suffered, as she feels she cannot be as open about her feelings for fear of upsetting her, and she feels she will never be able to get in a taxi again.