A 40 year old child abuser has been jailed for nine years but has fled justice - to Africa.

Maclear Dilla was convicted by a jury in his absence at Mold crown court in July, having failed to turn up.

Now, also with an empty dock, the former factory worker has been handed the sentence by Judge Huw Rees at Caernarfon.

Offences had occurred between 2006 and 2008 and Dilla had lived in Bethesda and Chester. He was in his late twenties, the girl he sexually abused aged between 12 and 15, the court heard. Dilla had pleaded guilty to one charge of kissing her but denied five other allegations of sexual activity with a child, including having sex.

Anna Pope, prosecuting, said the victim stated she'd become extremely paranoid. In an impact statement the girl, now a young woman, had said she didn’t feel safe with men, and insecure in company. She had felt ashamed for not saying no to Dilla but had now started to accept that she was not responsible, being a child when her abuser took advantage of a power difference.

Simon Rogers, defending, said the added sadness of the case was that Dilla had lost his wife and family because of his behaviour. He had a good work ethic and while on bail had a job in Haverfordwest, West Wales.

Mr Rogers said : “He didn’t attend his trial and he has fled back to Malawi, a place from where he and his wife had sought to escape.”

Judge Rees said Dilla had come to this country in the early 2000s to join his wife. He had not sought to coerce the girl in a violent way but it was “a classic case of grooming", and he used her “as a vehicle for his sexual lust."

The judge remarked : “My overview is that this is a serious set of sexual abuse over a two or three year period.”

Indefinite sexual harm and reporting orders were made.

A crown court arrest warrant has been issued. A CPS spokesman said: "The mechanics of enforcement for a warrant of the court are for the police."