Following an investigation by the South East Regional Crime Unit (SEROCU), a man has been sentenced for an attempted child sex offence.
Matthew Millen, aged 44 of Hall Park Avenue, Westcliff-on-Sea, was found guilty by a jury at Southampton Crown Court on Thursday December 3 of attempting to pay for the sexual services of a child.
On December 4, Millen was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
Following two weeks of online engagement between the March 1 and 14, 2019, Millen arranged to pay for the sexual abuse of an 11-year-old girl. He travelled from Essex to Southampton on March 14 and was arrested by SEROCU officers.
He was charged in June 2019.
In this case, there was never a real life victim and no children were in any danger.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Colin Haynes of SEROCU, said: “This was a particularly distressing case where Millen thought he was paying for the sexual services of a child that was only 11 years old.
“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 offenses himself.
“This shows the lengths of depravity that Millen would go to in an attempt to conduct child sex abuse.
“This was a successful pro-active operation led by South East Regional Crime Unit officers, who have worked tirelessly to ensure Millen would be brought to justice.
“Protecting children from sexual exploitation is a continued priority of SEROCU and we will keep bringing those suspected of being involved in these offences through the courts.
“If you have any suspicions about behaviour of this nature or you have been the victim of child sex abuse, please report it to your local police force by calling 101 rather than taking your own action.
“You can also make a report to the independent charity Crimestoppers, and remain anonymous by calling 0800 555 111.”