A SUPERMARKET worker told a jury he was "shocked and lost for words" when he was arrested for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Kamran Ali said he believed the teenager was at least 17 when he booked them into the Travelodge in Bradford city centre after they had messaged on Facebook.
Ali, 26, of Shay Crescent, Heaton, Bradford, denies sexual activity with a child on January 28, 2013.
He told Bradford Crown Court today the girl looked about 17 on her Facebook photo and never mentioned she was at school.
"I would not ever have spoken to her if I knew she was 13," he said.
She asked to be his girlfriend and they met outside Costa in Bradford and walked to the hotel at her suggestion.
Ali, who has no criminal convictions, said he had a girlfriend at the time and intended to just have a drink and "chill".
He said the teenager was wearing a low necked top, leggings and boots and he found her attractive.
He did not know she was playing truant from school and the police were looking for her until that evening.
Ali said he was arrested the following month.
"I was pretty shocked, pretty lost for words," he told the court.
He said he declined to answer questions from the police on the advice of his solicitor.
"They were trying to make me out to be some sort of sex predator who preyed on kids," he said.
Cross-examined by Richard Clews, for the Crown, Ali said the girl did not look or act like a 13-year-old.
He told her he was 24 and he thought she said she was 17.
"It was a heat of the moment mistake," he said.
Ali denied booking the hotel room with the intention of having sex with her.
Asked if he undressed her, he replied: "She hardly had anything on to undress in the first place."
Mr Clews suggested: "You were just keen to have sex with her as soon as you could and you were excited about the fact of how old she was?"
Ali denied this.
Earlier, the girl's mother told the jury she was called by the school to say her daughter had not attended that day.
When she did not come home by 3pm, she reported her missing to the police.
She repeatedly tried to call the teenager but her phone was switched off.
She agreed that her daughter had "bunked off" school before and since.
The girl's friend said she asked her if Ali knew she was 13.
"She just winked at me and she started laughing and said 'yeah'," she said.
The trial continues.