A TOP policeman accused of torching his own car told a jury yesterday he had dashed to his married lover’s side because she feared their affair would be exposed.

Taking to the witness stand, Chief Superintendent Jim Trotman said both he and his mistress Karin Gray – who he met on the website Illicit Encounters – had been terrified after receiving emails threatening to tell her husband about the affair.

Trotman denies charges of arson, fraud and perverting the course of justice.

Before the fire, Trotman received one message warning him to stay away from Mrs Gray’s Boars Hill home, but defied the mystery emailer to comfort her as her husband Ian Gray was away on business.

The 45-year old said: “I remember thinking ‘I’m getting into deep trouble here, someone knows a great deal about what’s going on here’.

“I didn’t believe it was a coincidence, someone had sent me an email 24 hours before I was going to see my lover saying ‘stay away’.”

Father-of-two Trotman, from Abingdon, told Swindon Crown Court that Mrs Gray was also deeply troubled by the emails which had revealed personal information about the couple and threatened to reveal all to her husband.

He said: “She was really disturbed and upset. Someone knew a great deal about us. They were sending emails containing the most sensitive of information, particularly to her.”

Trotman confided in a colleague that he and Mrs Gray had been having an affair. He said: “All the signs were telling me I was getting into serious trouble.”

A former officer with the Royal Marines, Trotman left the military to join Thames Valley Police in 1992 and was promoted to Superintendent in 2000 before becoming area commander for the city of Oxford in 2005.

In 2007 he left the post to become head of strategic development at the police headquarters in Kidlington, Oxford.

He was suspended from that role the day after his arrest on February 11, 2010, but has remained on full pay since then.

He said: “I did not set fire to my car and I find it inconceivable that people would think I have.

“I accept there is a case to answer. It’s my car, it was my petrol can and I was having an affair, and the service needed to look into the circumstances.

“I’m a very angry man, this has had a huge impact on my life.”

A few months after the fire, Trotman sent an email to his parents asking if they would consider “an advance on his inheritance” to the tune of £30,000, to help Mrs Trotman and the children stay in their family home.

The trial continues.