An ambulanceman denied sexually assaulting a drunken teenager who was being taken to hospital

Dale Kirby said he had only touched her accidentally while trying to “protect her modesty.”

Kirby, 34, an emergency medical technician working at Brighouse, said he was in the rear of the ambulance taking the 18-year-old and one of her friends, who was also drunk, to hospital in Huddersfield in the early hours of November 30, 2014.

He told Leeds Crown Court the girl was on a stretcher, sometimes calm and others thrashing about. At one point he said she started hitching up her dress and pulling down her knickers saying she needed the toilet.

“I asked her not to do that.” He said she did not reply and at first he just covered her with a blanket but because of her movements it came off exposing her bottom.

He said he did not want to get to the accident and emergency and have her exposed when the door opened and reached over to grab her knickers and pull them up.

“I was simply trying to adjust her clothing to protect her modesty while she was in a state of intoxication.”

Read more: Girl said she was "violated" after alleged sex assault in ambulance

He told the jury as that happened because of the movement of the ambulance and the girl moving he lost his balance. “It was a combination of factors I grabbed hold of her and made contact between her legs.”

He said he realised his hand had gone between her legs and he said sorry to her.

He said he had only made contact once, his hand landing inside her leg on the occasion when he lost his balance, it was accidental.

He told the jury that definitely did not happen a second time. After the accidental touching she had not complained to him in any way.

Kirby, 34 denies two charges of sexual assault.

He told the jury he was in the British Army for five years and was deployed in Afghanistan before joining the ambulance service.

“It’s not just a job it’s a vocation. It’s all I have done since leaving school, defending our country or looking after people in it. I’m quite proud of that.”

The trial continues on Monday.