A RIDING instructor from Cirencester who is accused of trying to kidnap a nine-year-old admits he lied to police and was in the village that lunchtime.

But Alexander Benfield insisted he had not seen the three youngsters and certainly didn’t try to snatch one of them.

And as he denied making the videos of young girls found on his phone, the 25-year-old told the jury he did not have a sexual interest in children.

Benfield was giving evidence at Swindon Crown Court where he is on trial after pleading not guilty to attempted kidnap and actual bodily harm.

He said he was not trying to mislead the police when he made mistakes in questioning about his clothing, going to Ashton Keynes and fearing his car had been cloned.

Speaking from the witness box he told the jury he had not deliberately lied to the police calling the errors ‘a lapse in memory’.

The riding instructor said: “They were lies, but they were not deliberate lies.”

He said he stopped in the village, where he often stayed when his grandparents lived there, on the way to shops near Cirencester from stables in Braydon.

“I wanted to reflect on the lots of happy memories I had there,” he told the jury of six men and six women.

“I parked up next to Ellison’s garage, as you can see on the CCTV. I started walking to go to my old nan and gramps’ house.

“I then thought I had to get back to do my other jobs because on Sunday 9 (August) I had a dressage competition where two of my horses were competing.”

Having spent just a couple of minutes there he went to Peacocks to buy a short sleeve shirt because it was a hot day, but had forgotten about it when questioned.

Asked why he gave the police who arrested him the wrong clothes when asked what he had been wearing the day before, he said he made a mistake due to shock.

“I couldn’t think straight and to be honest I was panicking because I had been arrested for something horrendous that I did not do,” he said.

“Because I was panicking: I couldn’t 100 per cent think straight. I was so scared and terrified because I had never ever done any offence in my life.”

He added “I was panicking. Because I was terrified. I have never, ever, done anything.

"I have never been cautioned, I have never been arrested, I have never been charged, I have never been in prison and this is a completely new experience to me and I didn’t know what was going on.”

When he was asked about the two short video clips, he said: “People would say it is a sexual motive. I can say 100 per cent I do not have a sexual interest in children. I never have and I never will.”

One four second covertly filmed clip showed a young girl walking along the road and another on a swing in a play park, thought to be in Ashton Keynes.

Benfield is said to have tried to snatch the nine-year-old from the street as she ran an errand to the local shop for her mum.

He denies the charges and the case continues.