Adam Johnson "abused his revered position in society", court told

The England footballer has admitted one count of grooming and one count of sexual activity with a child, but denies two further sexual offence allegations

Adam Johnson "abused his revered position in society", court told

Owen Humphreys / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Former Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson "abused his revered position in society" when he had sexual contact with a 15-year-old fan in his car, a court has heard.

The 28-year-old is on trial accused of sexual activity with a child under the age of 16. Johnson has admitted to one count of grooming and one count of sexual activity with a child, but denies two further sexual offence allegations.

"After matches, she would hang around waiting for a glimpse of him, wanting to get a photograph, often sporting a Sunderland shirt with Johnson's name emblazoned across the back," Prosecutor Kate Blackwell QC told the court.

Miss Blackwell said the girl had "an enormous crush" on the footballer.

"What has brought the defendant to this courtroom is a sexual desire for (the girl), an excessive arrogance and an unwarranted level of expectation."

The midfielder was aware the girl had only just turned 15 when he arranged to meet her in County Durham last January, jurors were told today.

The girl, who cannot be named, made a Facebook friend request to him just before New Year 2015.

The jury was read an exchange of messages between the pair in which he arranged to meet her to sign a football shirt. 

Mr Johnson had researched "legal of age of consent" on the internet, jurors heard.

The pair met up on 17 January 2015 near a Chinese takeaway close to the girl's home.

She got into his black Range Rover, where he signed football shirts, the court heard. The prosecutor went on to say: "The Crown suggest that such a search to satisfy such an interest is unlikely to have resulted from a kiss and no more than a kiss, as the defendant contends."

On New Year’s Eve 2014, jurors were told that Johnson asked the girl during a series of messages: “Are you in the last year of school?”

She replied: “Year 10. Will you still send me a signed shirt?”

Johnson arranged to meet the girl to give her a signed Sunderland shirt, jurors heard, and asked as the conversation went on: “Where do you go out?”

She answered: “I’m not old enough to go out.”

He said: “Yeah but you look old enough. When you 16?”

She replied: “Everyone says that. November.”

On 30 January, the pair met again. After a short conversation, Johnson is alleged to have reminded the girl he had come for his “thank you kiss” for giving her the signed shirt.

“What happened in that car on that evening is for you to decide,” Miss Blackwell told the jury. “The crown’s case is that sexual activity took place."

Johnson allegedly later asked the girl to show him a more secluded area “for when they met the next time”.

He drove to a remote area facing a football pitch and continued the sexual activity, Blackwell said, stopping a short time later when the girl began to feel “uncomfortable and awkward about where it may end”.

Within hours of the alleged sexual encounter, Johnson is said to have sent a message to the girl saying: “Wasn’t bad was it? Lol”.

She replied: “No haha”.

He continued: “Haha think we need to go in the back next time lol”.

She said: “Haha yeah”.

The court heard that Johnson said he felt the meeting had been “worth it”, adding: “It was class. Just wanted to get ya jeans off lol ... Next time defo. I will last 10 seconds though lol.”

The trial continues.


Via The Guardian