A rapist on the run for ten years has been warned by a judge that he will spend a long time behind bars.

James Rhule fled the country after a judge granted him bail in September 1999.

He was arrested in Milton Keynes in October last year after returning to the UK from Ghana.

Yesterday, Rhule, 56, pleaded guilty at Bradford Crown Court to raping a 26-year-old woman at his flat in Parsonage Road, Laisterdyke, Bradford, on May 2, 1999.

His barrister, Sarah Barlow, asked the judge, Recorder Colin Burn, to adjourn sentence for a probation service report.

Miss Barlow said she would be seeking medical reports because Rhule had suffered two strokes in the past ten years.

Recorder Burn remanded Rhule back into custody, telling him it was “overwhelmingly likely” he would receive a substantial custodial sentence.

Rhule will be sentenced on March 26.

After the hearing, Detective Sergeant Richard Smith, of West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said Rhule caught a flight from Manchester Airport to Ghana in January 2000.

He was due to stand trial for rape on February 14 that year.

Det Sgt Smith said the police obtained copies of Rhule’s airline ticket.

Officers believed he was staying at his parents’ address in Ghana. Police obtained an extradition warrant but he remained on the run.

Det Sgt Smith said Rhule even tried to organise an overseas removal company to collect his possessions from his Bradford flat and fly them out to join him.

After he returned to the UK, the Home Office realised there was a warrant out for his arrest.

He was picked up by officers in Milton Keynes and returned to Bradford.

An application by Rhule to again be released on bail pending yesterday’s hearing was refused at an earlier hearing by a judge at Bradford Crown Court.