A SEX offender who fled the country for five years has been jailed.
Eugene Tyrrell, 43, formerly from Hedge End, had been on the run for five years in South Africa.
He was arrested in February 2012 for inciting sexual activity with a child.
Tyrrell has been sending indecent sexual messages to two young girls via social media.
But when he appeared in court in March 2013 he denied the charges – and fled to South Africa before his next appearance in April of that year.
Now he has been jailed for 21 months after a lengthy extradition process hampered by a halt in extradition proceedings from South Africa between 2013 and 2016.
Brought back to court by DC David Thomas, from Hampshire police, Tyrrell admitted two charges of inciting sexual activity with a child and one count of failing to appear at court in April 2013.
Tyrrell had appeared at the Magistrate Court of Pretoria in March 2017 but appealed his extradition.
The High Court of Pretoria rejected his appeal and his extradition was upheld in February this year.
In June, DC Thomas flew to South Africa and re-arrested Tyrrell at Johannesburg International Airport, bringing him back to the UK to face his charges.
After the sentencing DC Thomas said: 'I hope that this case clearly demonstrates the lengths that Hampshire Constabulary will go to protect our communities.
'Tyrrell thought he could simply hop on a plane and live the rest of this life without paying for his crimes, but he was wrong.
'He didn’t count on the fact that we would persist with our investigation and do everything we could to ensure he was brought to justice.
'It has been a long and complex investigation, which has been incredibly frustrating at times, but we never gave up and always believed we would get this conviction for his victims.
'We hope that this sentencing today gives them some sense of closure.’
A judge imposed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.