A FORMER Bank of England employee took out £300 to pay to have sex with an 11-year-old girl.

Matthew Millen travelled from Westcliff to Southampton to have sex with a young girl called Grace.

Using WhatsApp, the 44-year-old had arranged the act with her father and even took a USB device with him so he could make a recording.

But the man he had been speaking to online between March 1 and 14 last year was, in fact, an undercover police officer.

After travelling from Essex via train he was arrested at a McDonald’s in Southampton.

Millen, of Hall Park Avenue, Westcliff, was convicted of attempting to pay for the sexual services of a child following a trial at Southampton Crown Court.

Prosecuting, Berenice Mulvanny said there had been a significant degree of planning and that Millen intended to commit the act with Grace’s father present.

Millen had argued he was a paedophile hunter and that was why he had arranged the meet.

John Lucas, mitigating, argued Millen, previously of impeccable character, had worked hard all his life and had effectively been caught red-handed.

Mr Lucas added Millen has lost his family, his job at the Bank of England, his house and he has also potentially lost his daughter.

At court on Friday, Judge Gary Burrell QC described the events as a dreadful tragedy and jailed Millen for three years, He will have to register as a sex offender for life.

Det Cons Colin Haynes of the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit, said: “During the trial, Millen said he was attempting to expose other people involved in sexual exploitation, this was seen as a fabrication by the jury and he has been found guilty of these offences himself. This shows the lengths of depravity that Millen would go to in an attempt to conduct child sex abuse.”