AN INTERNATIONAL manhunt is under way to catch a dangerous child rapist who fled the country on the eve of his trial.

Paedophile Vijesh Kooriyil failed to turn up at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday to face trial for repeatedly raping a young boy in Oxford between 2010 and 2011.

The court heard the 29-year-old business manager was on unconditional bail when he told his solicitors he was going to attend court, before boarding a plane to Delhi from Heathrow on Monday night.

But a jury of seven women and five men unanimously found Kooriyil guilty of both rapes on the boy who was aged six or seven at the time.

Judge Peter Ross took the decision to sentence Kooriyil in his absence and handed him an extended jail sentence of 18 years, meaning he will have to serve 12 years before being eligible for parole.

Investigating Officer, Detective Constable Allister Tavner said yesterday police were working with other authorities to bring Kooriyil back to the UK to face justice.

He added: "Kooriyil has been found guilty and sentenced for some extremely serious offences, we are working very closely with the CPS and other authorities in order to locate him.

"This is in the very early stages but every power available will be used to return him to the UK to serve his sentence."

Kooriyil is the second rapist to attempt to flee justice after Joseph Tsang escaped to Hong Kong before his trial started last year.

The 32-year-old ice skater, of Sandy Lane, Oxford, was convicted of two counts of rape and two counts of assault by penetration in his absence and jailed for 15 years before being extradited back to the UK in March to serve that sentence.

The court heard the Kooriyil subjected the boy to repeated and "appalling" rapes, sometimes two or three times a week.

In a statement read to the court, the boy said he tries not to think about the abuse which was inflicted upon him.

Prosecutor David Smith said the crimes only came to light after the boy started learning about sex at school and realised what had happened to him.

He added: "He started to feel ashamed about what had happened to him, it made him feel angry and confused.

"He is very suspicious, not with children, but with adults. He cannot understand why he did such a thing to him."

Judge Peter Ross said Kooriyil had groomed the boy, gaining his trust and playing with him before carrying out the horrific offences.

The judge branded the abuse "appalling" and said Kooriyil had "degraded and humiliated" the boy.

He found Kooriyil was a danger to the public, despite being of good character with no previous convictions.

He added: "Vijesh Kooriyil deployed the all too familiar ways of gaining a child's trust.

"He would often call the boy to come and play with him.

"Some of those games were innocent enough, but others took place in the defendant's bedroom.

"It was there, having secured the door with string and a nail, that the defendant began to rape a six year old, then seven year old boy."

The court heard Kooriyil, now of Seaside, Eastbourne, in East Sussex, had come to UK from India as a student, and was living in Oxford when he carried out the abuse.

Police said Kooriyil had been arrested in Scotland, brought to Carlisle Police Station for questioning, then released on unconditional bail because he had no previous cautions or convictions.

His passport was not seized because his court bail was unconditional, police said.

He was summonsed by post to attend Oxford Crown Court for trial and attended on November 13 last year to deny both charges.

After the verdicts on Thursday Judge Ross told the jury how Kooriyil had boarded a plane at Heathrow for Delhi and he had issued a warrant for his arrest.

He added: "The reason the defendant is not here is he was on a 7pm flight to Delhi having misled his solicitors he would be here for a 10am start on Tuesday."

But Judge Ross blasted the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for only charging Kooriyil with two rapes, when he was sure the abuse was much more sustained.

He said: "The indictment that has been prepared by the Crown is inadequate - it allows only to sentence on the basis of two incidents of rape.

"This is frustrating, but there's nothing I can do about it.

"This is a case which on the evidence which I accept, the boy was raped twice a week, or even three times a week at the peak of the offending and that went on until December 2011."

Judge Ross said if the defendant had been present the additional counts could have been put to him and he could have stood trial for them, but in his absence the indictment could not be amended.

As well as the 18-year jail sentence, Judge Ross imposed an extended five year licence on Kooriyil.

The CPS didn't respond to our questions.