Rapist is caught after eight years on the run in Europe

Rapist who fled from court during a lunch break while on trial is caught after eight years on the run in Europe – and jailed for seven years

  • Sarbaz Najmadeen Ali has finally been jailed after his conviction for rape in 2013
  • He was recognised by German police in BBC appeal and extradited to France

A rapist who fled court during a lunch break in his trial has been caught after eight years on the run when he was recognised by German police in a Crimewatch appeal.

Sarbaz Najmadeen Ali, 36, previously a barber, was at first extradited to France to face justice over a sexual assault he committed there and jailed for one year.

Upon his release Ali was returned to Britain, where he has now been imprisoned for seven years at Lewes Crown Court over a rape and sexual assault committed in 2013.

Sarbaz Najmadeen Ali was previously a barber and lived in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex

In 2014, Ali was convicted at Hove Crown Court in his absence of rape, attempted rape, assault by penetration and two counts of sexual assault committed one year earlier against a 33-year-old man in Hastings who was known to him.

During that trial, Ali had been granted bail which allowed him to leave the dock during the lunch break as long as he did not leave the court. But during the judge’s summing up, Ali fled and disappeared, leaving the jury to convict him in his absence.

A warrant was issued for Ali’s arrest and an appeal to trace him was issued by Sussex Police. Later his case was featured on the BBC’s Crimewatch ‘Most Wanted’ appeal.

Ali – who used to live in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex – had been arrested in Regensburg in Germany and while under investigation for offences there, an officer from the German Police recognised him from the Crimewatch photographs.

The officer then contacted Sussex Police and told them Ali was in their custody, but he was then extradited to France for offences he had committed there before a European Arrest Warrant could be executed.

In 2014, Ali was convicted at Hove Crown Court in his absence after he fled the court

Following jail time in France, he was arrested there and extradited back to the UK. On his return back to the UK, Ali appeared at Lewes Crown Court.

At that hearing he was sentenced to seven years in prison, plus a further three years on an extended licence. An extended licence means he will be subject to monitoring and is put in place to further protect the public from dangerous offenders.

He was also sentenced to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for life, which will restrict his access to children under the age of 16. This is to reflect his risk to young people following his conviction in France.

Sussex Police investigator Julian Stokes said: ‘Admiration has to be given to the courageous victim, who gave evidence at the trial in 2014 and who has had to wait for more than eight years for justice to be served following Ali’s sentencing.

‘This demonstrates that Sussex Police will go to extraordinary lengths to bring dangerous offenders such as Ali, back to the UK to face justice.’

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