A man has been convicted, after a trial in his absence, of raping a woman in Eastbourne after he gave her a 'date-rape' drug, and has been sentenced to a total of 11 years imprisonment.
Adem Gokgoz, 28, a hairdresser, formerly from Terminus Road, Eastbourne, was convicted and sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Friday 3 February, after a four-day trial, of two charges of raping a 21-year old woman at his flat, above his hairdressing salon, on 5 April 2014. He was arrested later on the same day.
Gokgoz had been released on conditional bail by Hastings magistrates on 4 May last year, and was told he was being sent for trial by a judge and jury. When he failed to appear for a preliminary hearing at Crown Court on 26 May a warrant was issued for his arrest.
A trial in absentia was authorised by Judge David Rennie, on the application of the CPS, at a hearing at Lewes Crown Court on 25 November last year.
In sentencing him, Judge Jeremy Gold QC said, "I do not have the slightest doubt that this crime was pre-meditated."
Gokgoz will also be a registered sex offender for life.
Detective Constable Lisa Wells of the East Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit said, "We believe Gokgoz, who is a naturalised UK citizen and also uses the name Adam Garcia, returned to his native Turkey in May 2016 whilst on court bail, and we are working with the CPS and the authorities there to try to trace him. However, he still has business connections locally and we still want to hear from anyone who may have seen him, heard from him or knows of his whereabouts, in Turkey or elsewhere.
"You can contact us via email@example.com quoting serial 597 of 05/04/14, or report online - or call 101.
"Gokgoz and his victim had met at a club in the town earlier that night and forensic examination showed that at some point there Gokgoz had clearly put some GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate) in her drink. The level of GHB in her system 14 hours after administration (it is usually supposed to be excreted within 12 hours) meant it was either a supremely high dose or given over several hours to reach that peak.
"The victim gave evidence at the trial, and feels vindicated by the outcome."