TV director says teen sex chat was "role-playing"
A former TV director thought he was role-playing with an adult during sexual chats with an officer posing as a 13-year-old girl, a jury has heard.
Prosecutors allege Tim Dowd, 66, believed he was speaking to a teen named Chantelle.
But he told jurors at Leeds Crown Court he believed she was an adult woman looking to enjoy "younger girl-older man role-play".
Mr Dowd, of Chatsworth Grove, Harrogate, denies child sex offences.
The court has heard Mr Dowd, who had worked as a director on Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Heartbeat, asked the undercover officer intimate questions about "phone sex" and requested images of her breasts.
Jurors were told he contacted the girl via a chat site and asked to clarify her age before remarking that being 13 was "not a problem".
In January last year, a day after their first conversation, he phoned up "Chantelle" via WhatsApp, requesting she sexually touch herself, the court heard.
Giving evidence, Mr Dowd said that when he starting talking to "Chantelle", he believed it was an adult woman looking to enjoy "younger girl-older man role-play".
Asked why he had started using the site, the father-of-two, said: "I wanted to go on there to find adult women who were interested in sharing some erotic conversation with me."
When the user declined to send him pictures, Mr Dowd said, this served as "confirmation" he was talking with an adult.
He told the court he would have left the chat immediately if he had been sent an image of a child.
The defendant said he does not have a sexual interest in children, adding that he has never had any complaints about his conduct during his time as a freelance director.
"I have worked with hundreds of children during my career, and have guided them to be great actors," he said.
He denies three counts of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, and a count of attempting to engage in sexual conversations with a child for the purpose of sexual gratification.
The trial continues.