A pilot accused of misusing a police helicopter to film people having sex was just a “taxi driver” for the officers on board, a court has heard.
Matthew Loosemore, 45, piloted the South Yorkshire Police aircraft when a couple were filmed having sex in their garden, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
He is one of four men on trial. All deny misconduct in a public office.
The former soldier told the jury he had no idea his colleague Adrian Pogmore had recorded the couple having sex.
Pogmore, 51, admitted the charge. He said he knew the married couple through the “swinging scene” and had had sex with the woman.
The jury heard Pogmore made four recordings from the aircraft between 2007 and 2012, including two of people sunbathing naked, one of a couple of naturists and another of his friends having sex on their patio.
Mr Loosemore acknowledged he heard an “exclamation” in the cockpit and caught sight of “some nudity” on the camera screen.
He reacted by swiftly flying the helicopter away and continued looking for nuisance motorbikes, he said in court.
The father-of-three said his role “was as a civilian taxi driver” for police air observers.
The pilot, who had only been flying with the force for 18 months at the time of the flight in July 2008, told the jury he did not know Pogmore was “into swinging or voyeurism” then and was unaware police colleagues referred to Pogmore as the “team deviant”.
Asked what he could see in the garden, Mr Loosemore replied: “You can’t make out any detail from 600ft.”
He showed the jury a self-made map of the helicopter’s movements at the time the couple were being filmed with the zoomed-in camera.
The defendant, of Briar Close, Auckley, Doncaster, said the closest the aircraft got to their garden was 1,017ft away, a distance he had calculated from data recorded by the camera.
Mr Loosemore joined the army at age 17 and later became a military helicopter pilot. He left in 2002, the court heard.
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He denies one count of misconduct in a public office.
Pogmore, of Guilthwaite Crescent, Whiston, Rotherham, has admitted four counts of the same charge.
Matthew Lucas, 43, of Coppice Rise, Chapeltown, Sheffield, denies three counts.
Malcolm Reeves, 64, of Farfield Avenue, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, denies two counts.
Lee Walls, 47, of Southlands Way, Aston, Sheffield, denies one count.
The trial continues.