A former police chief inspector has told a court claims by a vulnerable junior officer that he had taken advantage of her sexually are a “fantasy”.

David Rolls, 46, who was serving Sussex Police at the time, is accused of misconduct in public office by forming a sexual relationship with another officer, who was struggling with her mental health, between 2016 and 2018.

Prosecutor Alisdair Smith has said someone in his position should have, or would have, realised that having sex with someone who was vulnerable was an “improper thing to do”.

Jurors at Lewes Crown Court have been told that the pair exchanged flirty and intimate messages and pictures, that, on one occasion, Rolls asked for a hug while he was aroused, and asked the woman to give him oral sex, which she did.

Rolls, who resigned from the force in March 2023, having reached the rank of detective chief inspector, denied claims that he had engaged in sexual activity with the female officer as a “fantasy”.

Read more: Chief inspector took sexual advantage of vulnerable junior officer, court told

His voice breaking with emotion, he added: “My children and my wife will always be the most important thing to me.”

He admitted that he had given her a hug on one occasion to comfort her, but denied using visits to her home to check on her wellbeing were used as an excuse to have a sexual relationship with her.

Rolls said that he did not think the complainant was attractive, and said that “she reminded me of a senior colleague with a different haircut”.

The defendant denied the suggestion by Mr Smith that he had created a position where she was dependent on him and responding to her comment that he had saved her life, Rolls said: “I cannot control what she said, it is a nice piece of feedback in front of senior officers.”

Rolls denied showing or sending naked photos of himself to the complainant but admitted that he would share such photos with his wife.

He said that the complainant had not sent naked photos of herself to him or that he had asked for “increasingly intimate photos of her”.

“She never sent any images to me, it’s something that didn’t involve me,” he said.

The defendant said that the complainant had sent him a message asking him if he wanted to meet her at a hotel in Kent for a drink, which he said he had found “odd”.

When asked by Mr Smith if he believed the proposal was sexually motivated, Rolls replied that “nothing I did at any time would have given that impression”.

Rolls denies the charge and the trial continues.