Adam Johnson faces jail after being found guilty of sexual activity with a 15-year-old

There was no obvious reaction to the verdict from Johnson, who was sitting in the dock with two security guards.

A senior officer from the Durham Police praised the victim for her “bravery and courage” in coming forward.

They added: “Johnson exploited his position as a local hero to take advantage of a young and impressionable girl”.

The schoolgirl herself described how the past year was “the hardest of her life”.

She said: “What happened in his car has turned my life upside down. I always doubted that people would believe me.”

The victim mentioned how she had “idolised” the footballer and had “lost all confidence” since the incident.

The former Sunderland star was arrested over the child sex charges exactly one year ago today.

In a statement issued after the case, Sunderland FC said it “refuted” any suggestion the club “knew all along” that Johnson was intending to change his plea just before his trial.

After two weeks of evidence, Judge Rose had sent the jury out to consider a verdict at Bradford Crown Court yesterday.

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