THE former commander of Oxford police yesterday told a court he had not tried to frame his lover’s husband for an arson attack on his car.

Chief Superintendent Jim Trotman’s car was destroyed by fire while it was parked a short walk away from the home of his married mistress, Karin Gray.

The 45-year old had gone to visit Mrs Gray while her solicitor husband Ian was away on business, despite receiving emails threatening to expose his affair and warning him to stay away from the Grays’ family home.

Father-of-two Trotman, of Abingdon, is accused of starting the fire and then trying to pin the blame on Mr Gray.

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

Fiona Elder, prosecuting, put it to Trotman that when he arrived at the scene of the blaze he told firefighters and police officers that Mr Gray might be responsible and that someone could have a grudge against him.

But Trotman said he did not remember those conversations and that those present may have learned of the affair by reading news coverage of his arrest before they made statements to police.

He said he had not suggested to Detective Superintendent Ashley Smith, who investigated the incident, that Mr Gray might be responsible for the car fire, although he suspected that he might have had something to do with the emails.

“I was suggesting to Mr Smith that Mr Gray was a resourceful man and he could have had someone behind them,” said Trotman.

“I do not think I have ever said Mr Gray was the emailer.”

The emails revealed a large amount of personal information about both Mrs Gray and Trotman, but the messages, later revealed to have been sent by a teacher called Kai Stephen Reeves, did not mention the fire, or the fact that Trotman had left his wife and moved to a rented home in Abingdon.

Trotman told the jury at Swindon Crown Court that he was not sure whether or not Ian Gray knew about the affair, and had told police that he was a very placid man.

However, he did mention that when Mrs Gray had a previous affair in 2000, Mr Gray had intervened and could have accessed her email account.

When asked if he had suggested that Mr Gray was responsible for the fire in Jarn Way, Boars Hill, near Oxford, Trotman said he had not.

He said he had been told Mr Gray was to be arrested shortly after the fire on October 20, 2009, but that he did not know that it was in connection with the incident.

Instead, he thought it might be to do with preventing a possible case of domestic violence, as Karin Gray had been assessed by a police domestic violence expert.

Earmarked for a high-flying career since he joined Thames Valley Police in 1992, the court heard Trotman had been respected by his colleagues until he was suspended after his arrest last February.

Appearing as a character witness for Trotman, former Oxfordshire Chief Superintendent David McWhirter said: “The over-arching things for me are a very professional officer and a good commander, who drove crime reduction and the police service to the community hard.”

The trial continues.