A MANHUNT is under way for a Portuguese paedophile who raped a 12 year old Staffordshire girl and then fled the UK.
Antonio Alves contacted the girl over the internet pretending to be a 15 year old boy and arranged to meet her.
He took her to a secluded spot near Cannock and orally raped her, a jury at Stafford crown court ruled.
Alves skipped bail in April and failed to turn up for his trial last month when he was convicted in his absence.
He was today (thurs) jailed in his absence for 11 years by Judge John Wait, who also issued a European arrest warrant.
Alves, aged 41, of Aneurin Bevan Place, Rugeley, Staffs. had previously denied two charges of rape. The jury acquitted him of vaginally raping the girl.
The incident happened in Spring 2010, but did not come to light until two years later.
Mr Paul Spratt, prosecuting, told the judge today that Alves had disguised himself in an internet chat room.
"She believed she was meeting a boy of 15. She, having got in to his motor vehicle she was taken to a less public place, where the act occurred.
"The matter came to light as a result of disclosure two years after the event, to her mother and in turn to a psychological counsellor.
"The defendant denied it, his interview asserted he thought she was over 16. He made no proper inquiry and had already lied to her in any event.
"I understand he is now in a European country. He knew when his trial was to take place, having disappeared some time after 16 April."
Passing sentence, Judge John Wait said: "Alves is now 41, he had no previous convictions, but in March or April 2010 he raped a girl then 12 years old. At that time, he was 38.
"He met her on an internet messaging site by disguising himself as a teenage boy, for the purposes of grooming her and meeting her. Although she immediately realised he was much older than the boy she was expecting, in a state of uncertainty and surprise, she still got in to his car, where he raped her.
"She gave in her video evidence a distressing account. Disclosure of the offence came after a lengthy period of unhappiness.
"Shortly before the date of the trial, Alves left the country. He is a man who comes from Portugal, he has family and friends in Spain and Germany. His wife attended the trial. There was no doubt at all he was aware of the trial date."
The judge added that Alves had been given an opportunity to surrender himself or to be arrested, but he continues to be at large.
Alves, who was working in a cleaning job in the Cannock area, has also been put on the UK's sex offender's register for life.
Mr Chris Clark, defending, said there had been minimal contact between Alves and the girl - it was one incident and not a sustained attack.