A FORMER police officer has denied ‘absolutely’ that he raped or groomed a number of young girls over a 12-year period.

David Waller is facing a catalogue of complaints from several teenage girls, including one remaining charge of rape.

Giving evidence in his defence at Teesside Crown Court, the 34-year-old categorically denied any wrongdoing against the alleged victims.

The former Cleveland Police officer and flight instructor denied using his position as a way of impressing young girls and grooming them for his own sexual gratification.

His defence barrister Nicholas Lumley, QC, quizzed his client about the content of a number of messages the defendant shared with a teenage girl who he met through amateur dramatics.

Waller accepted that in hindsight some of the messages may have sounded inappropriate but denied that he was attempting to groom the teenager.

Mr Lumley asked why Waller continued to contact the girl even after her mother told him her exact age, he replied: "I didn't believe her, I'm quite stubborn and I like to make my own mind up."

When asked about the contents of some of the messages, he replied: "To be honest, the messages do look horrendous – at the time I had massive financial difficulty, I cannot remember saying any of those things. I can't think of the context behind them."

Asked what the messages, including one reading 'I want you so bad' meant – he replied I have no idea, I have recollection of them."

Waller was asked about a message he sent relating to the alleged victim taking her bra off, he said it was just a 'flippant' remark.

When Mr Lumley asked whether the allegation made by the first complainant that Waller fondled her breast when she was a young teenager was true – he simply replied 'no'.

Waller was asked whether he remembered a Facebook remark his first alleged victim left on a photograph from his 21st birthday – two years after the alleged attack, he replied: "No, she was a very insignificant person in my life."

Waller, 34, of Eastleigh, Thornaby, denies all charges. He is accused of meeting some of his alleged victims through his roles with Cleveland Police, as a flying instructor and various theatre groups between 2004 and 2016.

The allegations now include one charge of rape, three counts of inciting underage girls to engage in sexual activity, three of meeting or attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming, two counts of sexual activity with a child, and one of sexual assault.

He faces an additional charge of misconduct in a public office from his time in the police.

The trial, listed for three weeks, continues.