England

Adam Johnson trial: Girl met footballer for 'kiss and more'

Former Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson Image copyright PA
Image caption The former Sunderland footballer was arrested in March last year

A girl has described how she met footballer Adam Johnson for a "thank you kiss and more" after he signed football shirts for her.

The girl's account was given to police and the video recording of the interview was shown at the player's trial at Bradford Crown Court.

Mr Johnson, 28, who has 12 England caps, is accused of two counts of sexual activity with a child.

The former Sunderland and Middlesbrough footballer denies the charges.

The girl, who was aged 15 at the time of the alleged incident, described how the winger was her favourite player.

"I got a message from Sunderland player Adam Johnson who I'd idolised for quite a while," she said.

'Well up for it'

The girl said that after exchanging messages, she first met up with him on 17 January 2015 when he signed two Sunderland shirts for her.

She said the player continued to message her, requesting a "thank you kiss".

"I was well up for it. It was a surreal type of thing," she told the police officer.

"I met up with him again. I gave him his thank you kiss and more," she said.

Mr Johnson sat in the dock watching the recording of the girl give her account on two large video screens.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Adam Johnson's partner Stacey Flounders accompanied him to court last week

The court heard her describe how Mr Johnson exchanged WhatsApp messages with her after their first meeting, saying "you owe me for this".

At the second meeting, in the player's Range Rover, she claimed he said to her: "I've come for my thank you kiss."

The girl said: "I was kissing him for quite a while.

"He undid the button on my trousers. It took him a while to do that."

'Knew it was wrong'

The girl then described sexual activity between the pair.

Later in the interview, the police officer asked the girl what the player knew about her.

She replied he knew her age, her school year and where she sat at Sunderland home matches. "He asked me when I was 16," she said.

Asked how she felt, the girl said: "As much as I expected it to happen, I was a bit shocked it had. I sort of knew I had done something wrong.

"It wasn't that I didn't want it or anything. I just knew it was wrong."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Adam Johnson scored for Sunderland against Liverpool earlier in February

The jury of eight women and four men was played a second police interview during which the girl described more serious alleged sexual contact.

She said a sex act happened for three or four seconds during the pair's second meeting in his car, on 30 January last year.

The woman police officer asked her how she felt. She said: "Not very good. I was disappointed in myself."

'Tried to forget about it'

When the officer asked her why she did not mention the more serious sexual contact in the first interview, she said that there was evidence on text messages to back up everything else she said, but not this sex act.

The girl broke down in tears and asked for a break when she was questioned over a video link by Mr Johnson's barrister Orlando Pownall QC about why she had asked friends to lie about what happened.

After a short break granted by Judge Jonathan Rose, she said: "I wanted to keep him (Johnson) out of trouble. I didn't want to get him in more trouble than he was.

"I was scared that people wouldn't believe me. I didn't want to believe that it had happened.

"I tried to forget about it. I was trying to live normally.

"At the time I didn't realise it was wrong. I didn't realise what had gone on was wrong."

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 trial continues.

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.

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