A POLICE officer told a court he agreed to hug a female detainee in a bid to comfort her but did not kiss her as she claims.

Sergeant Richard Evans, of The Highway, New Inn, denies two counts of misconduct in public office and three counts of sexual assault between 2003 and 2013.

Evans, 47, told Cardiff Crown Court that a female detainee asked for a hug which he agreed to because she was upset.

He said he gestured for them to move towards a shower area to avoid the "risk of collision" if they hugged near two doors that were used regularly.

During cross-examination Robert Philpotts, prosecuting, asked if Evans was trying to avoid the cameras in the corridor and cells.

Mr Philpotts said: "You told officers that one of the reasons you agreed to this hug was you were on camera. Why didn't you do it in full view of the cell camera?" Evans replied that he did not know.

The jury were then shown CCTV footage of the incident, captured on another cell camera, where Evans was seen with his hands on the alleged victim's back.

Evans told the court he knew that this camera would have recorded him with the detainee.

Mr Philpotts also asked "Were you caressing her back with your hands?" to which Evans replied "I was gently rubbing her back."

Evans added that the woman asked her for a hug and he "went along with it". He told the jury he was "comforting and reassuring her".

Earlier in the trial the woman said she feared Evans was going to rape her.

Evans was also asked about an alleged incident where he is accused of having consensual sex with another female detainee while on duty in a room used by cleaners at Ystrad Mynach police station.

He denies that this took place and told the court he took her to the room to get her a drink.

He told the jury he believed she was trying to pull the taps of the sink off while she was filling up a cup of water and that he put his arms around her to try and stop her.

Mr Philpotts asked him: "You were having sexual intercourse with this woman from behind weren't you?" Evans replied: "No, I wasn't."

Mr Philpotts added: "This story you've given is an attempt to explain in case it was caught on camera wasn't it?" which Evans also denied.

Character references read out by defence barrister Susan Ferrier described Evans as conscientious and honest and that it would be devastating for him to no longer be a police officer.