A SEX offender who was named in Britain’s top ten most wanted criminals after going on the run, has finally been brought to justice and jailed for ten years.

Mark Brito, 45, fled abroad as soon as he heard police were investigating complaints from two girls, saying he had repeatedly abused them.

He absconded when he knew he was coming under suspicion after one victim had plucked up the courage to tell her teacher, rushing upstairs at his Southampton home to pack a bag, saying he was going to be away for a few days.

While he was at large, the construction worker was twice featured on nationwide TV appeals for information about his whereabouts. He also appeared in two Daily Echo appeals, initially in our Crack a Crime for Christmas campaign last year and then in our alternative Easter egg hunt in April this year to help police catch wanted criminals.

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Detectives believe Brito went to Portugal and later moved to France where he got a girlfriend, a nurse. The fugitive was finally arrested in April, after 11 years on the run, when he committed a driving offence and was pulled over by police.

He was taken to a police station for questioning where it was discovered he was wanted on a European arrest warrant prepared by Hampshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Following extradition, Brito stood trial at Southampton Crown Court where he was unanimously convicted of six specimen counts of indecent assault and five specimen charges of indecency with a child.

Jailing him for ten years Judge Derwin Hope told Brito his victims’ childhood had been ruined and they had suffered in silence.

“You still do not accept what you have done, but this was sustained action for your own gratification at their expense, backed up by threats against them. You have left a trail of devastation that is unlikely to be mended by those concerned.”

Brito, who showed no reaction, was also banned from living in a house with girls under 16 and was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

In statements summarised by prosecutor James Newton-Price, one girl said she was “very relieved” that after 11 years, she had finally been believed. She had lost her childhood, she added. Both related how the sexual abuse had affected relationships with their family, and the second victim said she could never forgive that.

Brito, who used to live in Bramley Crescent, Sholing, claimed he had gone abroad because he was facing a nervous breakdown and found work with a friend in France.

“At first, I was thinking of coming back but things started snowballing. I was inundated with work, people were throwing money at me. I was working seven days a week,” he said.

Brito claimed he knew nothing about the allegations, which he denied.

Arrogantly he had played in court a video showing him on a boat to demonstrate his new lifestyle, which was slammed by the judge as “a sickening contrast to the devastation you had left behind”.

After the case, Det Sgt Nigel Lee, of Hampshire’s child abuse investigation team, said: “Hope-fully this will send out a message to all offenders against children – no matter how far you run or how long, Hampshire Police will not give up pursuing you.”