On trial helicopter cop accused of filming couple having sex was honoured for saving lives of two South Yorkshire boys, jury told.

Matthew Lucas
Matthew Lucas
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A police officer accused of misusing his force's helicopter when it was used to film people sunbathing naked and having sex was honoured for helping save the lives of two boys who were attacked in a "notorious" incident, a jury has heard.

Matthew Lucas was an air observer on the South Yorkshire Police helicopter when the boys were attacked by two other boys and left for dead in Edlington, near Doncaster, in 2009, Sheffield Crown Court was told.

The jury was told by Mark Sorsby - a retired police sergeant who later became Lucas's supervisor - that the officer received a commendation from the chief constable for being "one of the team that saved the lives of those children".

Lucas, 42, is on trial with another officer - Lee Walls, 47 - and two police helicopter pilots, Matthew Loosemore, 45, and Malcolm Reeves, 64.

The court has been told that recordings were made from the helicopter on four occasions between 2007 and 2012 - two of people sunbathing naked, one of a couple of naturists and one of a couple having sex in their back garden.

Another officer, Adrian Pogmore, 51, has admitted misconduct in a public office but Lucas, Walls, Loosemore and Reeves deny the same charge.

Paul Greaney QC, defending Lucas, asked Mr Sorsby about his client's character and professional conduct.

Mr Greaney described what happened in Edlington in 2009 - when 10-year-old and 11-year-old brothers attacked two boys aged nine and 11 - as a "notorious" case in which the two victims were "left for dead".

Mr Sorsby said he had worked with Lucas in the air operations unit for 10 years - first as colleagues on the aircraft and then as his supervisor.

He agreed Lucas was a "highly professional officer" and was "approachable, happy and professional".

Mr Sorsby said he had never heard Lucas suggest doing anything inappropriate.

The jury of six men and six women has heard how the footage at the centre of the trial was found among Pogmore's property at a police station and Pogmore was the only defendant present during all four incidents.

One recording, played to the jury, showed a couple who were friends of Pogmore having sex on their patio in a range of positions for around eight minutes.

Prosecutors said they were aware of the helicopter as they "brazenly put on a show".

Another piece of footage showed a naked woman sunbathing in a large garden with two girls wearing bikinis.

A third clip showed a couple sunbathing naked on sun-loungers, and the fourth featured two naturists sitting outside a caravan on a camp site.

Prosecutors have told the jury that Pogmore knew the couple having sex as they "shared his sexual interest in the swinging scene".

Pogmore, of Guilthwaite Crescent, Whiston, Rotherham, was described as "a swinging and sex-obsessed air observer" by prosecutors. He has admitted four charges of misconduct in a public office.

Reeves, of Farfield Avenue, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, denies two counts of the same charge.

Walls, of Southlands Way, Aston, Sheffield, denies one count.

Loosemore, of Briar Close, Auckley, Doncaster, denies one count.

Lucas, of Coppice Rise, Chapeltown, Sheffield, denies three counts.

Mr Sorsby was asked by Neil Fitzgibbon, defending Loosemore, whether it was possible to spot somebody "giving someone oral sex" from 900ft away in the helicopter.

The retired officer, who was deputy commander of the force's air support unit, agreed it was not possible.

He also agreed it was not possible to tell whether people's clothes were off or on from that distance and it was not possible to say whether someone was sitting on someone else's lap.

Mr Sorsby agreed that the view on the helicopter's camera - which the jury has heard can read a number plate from two miles away - was very different from what the crew could see through the window.

The officer agreed that Loosemore, who was not employed by South Yorkshire Police but supplied by a commercial firm, was an "exceptional pilot".

Mr Sorsby said he did not know Pogmore was a "swinger and a voyeur", and agreed with Mr Fitzgibbon that it would make him "the least appropriate candidate to be in charge of a high-power camera".

The court heard that Walls was in the Royal Navy before he became a police officer and joined the air support unit in 2000 after suffering an assault as he worked as a front-line officer.

Mr Sorsby agreed he was an "excellent" member of the team.

Keir Monteith, defending Reeves, told the court his client had 18 years service in the RAF during which he received a Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air.

Mr Monteith said Reeves worked in the commercial sector before he was head-hunted to be a police helicopter pilot.

He described an incident in which Reeves saved five people on board his aircraft when it plummeted, spinning to the ground after a drive-shaft broke.

The barrister said the pilot's skills enabled him to bounce the aircraft as it hit the ground meaning all on board could "walk away".

Mr Sorsby agreed that he had flown around 800 sorties with Reeves and had the utmost respect for his professionalism and integrity.

Mr Monteith said: "You literally trusted him with your life?"

And Mr Sorsby said: "Yes."

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.