PROSECUTORS remain hopeful of finding a sex attack suspect who is believed to have absconded abroad.
Frank Burgon was due to stand trial at Teesside Crown Court yesterday on charges of rape, attempted rape and three allegations of indecent assault against a girl.
But the 76-year-old failed to turn up for the trial for the third time in a row.
Burgon faced being tried in his absence but the case was adjourned for two months after prosecutors said there was a chance they might be able to track him down and bring him to court.
Katherine Dunn, prosecuting, said: “The case has been listed for trial on previous occasions.
“The first was back in March when the defendant was fully aware of the trial date.
“He has deliberately absconded. The matter was delisted in May when again he failed to attend.
“Enquiries are ongoing (as to his whereabouts). There is a slight possibility the Crown may be able to secure his attendance.
“Consequently, I apply for this trial date to be vacated and a further period of time be allowed to see if we can secure his attendance at court.”
The court was told in May that it was believed Burgon, of Field House Farm, Dalton Piercy, had fled the country to the Mediterranean where he had access to a boat.
A Europe-wide warrant was issued after he skipped bail and Cleveland Police said they were actively seeking him.
Burgon’s barrister Paul Cleasby said it was preferable that he was present to answer the allegations which he previously pleaded not guilty to.
Mr Cleasby said: “If there is a prospect of him being able to stand trial then I can’t stand in the way of the Crown’s application so I don’t object.”
The issue of £50,000 previously put up by Burgon’s partner to guarantee he would answer bail was also adjourned until the next occasion.
The case will be mentioned at the crown court for an update on Friday, December 20.