Adam Johnson: ‘I wasn’t a good person’

22 Feb


Footballer Adam Johnson arrives at Bradford Crown CourtImage copyright
Getty Images

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The former Sunderland footballer was arrested in March last year

England footballer Adam Johnson has told a jury he “wasn’t a good person to his girlfriend or his daughter”.

The former Sunderland player, who denies two counts of sexual activity with a child, has begun giving evidence in his trial at Bradford Crown Court.

Mr Johnson admits “passionately” kissing the teenager at the centre of the case and an offence of grooming.

Replying to questions from his defence barrister, Mr Johnson, 28, also admitted he had texted “other women”.

Orlando Pownall QC defending, asked Mr Johnson: “You pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child and meeting a child following sexual grooming. Did you accept kissing (the girl)?”

The footballer said: “Yes.”

Mr Pownall continued: “Did you digitally interfere with her or indulge in oral sex with her?”

The winger, capped 12 times by England, answered: “No, I never.”

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Getty Images

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Adam Johnson admitted he had not been a good person to his girlfriend Stacey Flounders

Mr Johnson told the jury he knew kissing the girl was an offence but said he did not realise that communicating with her with the intention of kissing her prior to meeting was also an offence.

The court heard Mr Johnson accepted the girl as a friend on Facebook and exchanged telephone numbers because she had been asking for signed shirts.

Mr Pownall asked: “Were you contemplating any kind of sexual encounter with her?”

Mr Johnson replied: “No.”

When asked why he told her not to tell anyone she was messaging him, he said: “Loads of reasons – I had a girlfriend, I knew what could be made of speaking to a girl that age, I didn’t want her to tell her friends and them to come and ask me for shirts as well.”

Earlier, the court heard that Mr Johnson made a prepared statement to police in which he accepted the “stupidity” of his actions and apologised to the girl.

‘Wholly unacceptable’

Daniel Thomas, junior prosecutor in the case, said Mr Johnson admitted kissing the girl “fully on the lips” during the meeting in his Range Rover on 30 January last year but denied more serious allegations.

He said his initial meetings with the girl were “platonic in nature” and she would regularly approach him and request signed shirts.

He said Mr Johnson described his actions as “wholly unacceptable” and said he withdrew from any further contact with the girl because of her age and his own personal situation.

In the statement, Mr Johnson said: “She’s a child and ought to have been safe in my company.”

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PA

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Adam Johnson launched his defence on Monday

Mr Johnson told jurors that it was the girl who suggested they meet in a car park to exchange a football shirt and he said he wanted to do it while it was dark so neither he nor his black Range Rover would be identified.

He admitted some of the messages they exchanged were “flirty” and he was ashamed of himself, blaming boredom for some sent while he was away in a hotel.

He also admitted he was attracted to the girl and asked her to delete their messages “just to be safe”.

Mr Johnson also accepted searching for the age of consent online but said it was unrelated to the girl and he was simply following up on changing room conversations held with foreign players about rules of consent around the world.

Born in Sunderland, Mr Johnson began his career at Middlesbrough before moving to Manchester City and then on to Sunderland for £10m in 2012.

The footballer has previously pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a child and one charge of grooming. He was sacked by Sunderland as a result.

The trial continues.

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