Craig Elliott, 32, was found guilty of two counts of sexual assaulting a girl under 13 by touching on the third day of his trial at Durham Crown Court.
The trial began on Monday afternoon as the court as given no good reason for the absence of the defendant, among suggestions that he may be in Ireland.
Both offences are said to have taken place in early October 2021 and Elliott, formerly of West Crescent, Easington Colliery, but living while on remand at an address in East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, in Scotland, denied them both at a plea hearing at the court, on 2 November
The case was adjourned for trial this week, although there have been further mentions, a ground rules hearing and the pre-recording of cross-examination of the victim, in the meantime.
Following the jury’s guilty verdicts, Judge James Adkin imposed a 40-month prison sentence on Elliott and said the defendant should be subject of registration as a sex offender, “indefinitely”.
The Crown will also seek the imposition of further restrictions by way of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, as well as a restraining order, for the protection of his victim, as and when the defendant is arrested and brought before the court.
In the meantime, Judge Adkin issued a bench warrant not backed by bail for the arrest of Elliott.
Anybody with information should call 101.