Ex-police officer David Waller 'did not believe girl was under-age'

David Waller
Image caption David Waller is said to have coerced one girl into sending sexual pictures

A former policeman accused of sex offences against young girls said he did not believe a mother when she told him her daughter was only 14.

David Waller, who served with Cleveland Police, denies 11 charges including rape and sexual activity with a child.

Text messages of a sexual nature he sent to a 14-year-old girl were read out to a jury at Teesside Crown Court.

On two occasions the girl's mother contacted Mr Waller, 33, to tell him she was under-age, the court was told.

Under cross-examination, he said the girl had told him she was 17 and he had no reason to disbelieve her.

Mr Waller, of Stockton, said if he had thought the youngster was under-age he would have "run a mile".

The court also heard details of text messages he sent to another girl in which he pledged his love for her and called her his "princess, now and forever".

'Willing to groom'

Mr Waller, of Autumn Grove, and who served with the Cleveland force between 2006 and 2010, said he did not believe those messages were sexual.

When prosecutors alleged he was "attracted to young teenage girls," he replied: "No."

When he was then told: "You are willing to groom." He again replied: "No."

Mr Waller denied each allegation put to him and said his accusers were making up stories about him.

When asked if he could explain why that might be the case, he said he could not.

The alleged offences, which also include sexual assault, are said to have taken place between 2004 and 2016.

Earlier in the trial, the judge, Recorder Toby Hedworth QC, directed jurors to formally acquit him on a different charge of raping a teenager.

The hearing continues.

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