Rapist who absconded during trial for sentencing next month
Virginijus Bagdonas convicted rapist and kidnapper who fled following his conviction s
Virginijus Bagdonas (44), a Lithuanian with a previous address at Whitehalls, Oldcastle, Co Meath, was convicted of rape n his absence in December 2006 after the judge ordered the trial to continue without him. Photograph: Reuters
A convicted rapist and kidnapper who fled during his trial several years ago is to be sentenced next month after being found in England.
Virginijus Bagdonas (44), a Lithuanian with a previous address at Whitehalls, Oldcastle, Co Meath, was convicted in his absence in December 2006 after the judge ordered the trial to continue without him.
During the trial, the victim gave evidence that she agreed to accompany Bagdonas to a party in Cavan because he said he wanted to apologise to her for weeks of harassing phone calls. He drove to a Cavan lake and threatened to kill her.
He raped her in the car and then brought her to his home in Oldcastle where he forced her to undress and get into his bed. She escaped when he fell asleep and met a garda nearby. Bagdonas claimed they had consensual sex and that she stole his rent money.
Mr Justice Barry White ordered that the trial continue without the accused. He said that because the woman had concluded her evidence and was coming towards the end of her cross-examination, to stop the trial would have been unfair to her.
After Bagdonas was convicted, the judge said: “It’s rare that a jury finds itself determining a case in the absence of the accused but he absconded and now can only be sentenced if and when he is apprehended . . .” Until then, the matter must remain “in limbo”.
Yesterday at the Central Criminal Court, prosecuting counsel Gerard Clarke SC said a European arrest warrant was obtained after Bagdonas was found living in England. He agreed to return to Ireland voluntarily and was arrested at Dublin Airport last week. He has been in custody since.
Mr Clarke said the victim is still in the country and they would like time to get a victim impact report from her.
Mr Justice White agreed to adjourn sentencing and remanded Bagdonas in continuing custody until January 20th next.