Sunday 15 December 2019

Teenage girl describes encounters with footballer Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson sat in the dock watching the girl give her account on two large video screens in the court
Adam Johnson sat in the dock watching the girl give her account on two large video screens in the court

A teenage girl has described how she met up with England midfielder 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 played at the former Sunderland player's trial at Bradford Crown Court.

Johnson, 28, denies two counts of sexual activity with the girl, who was 15 years old at the time of the alleged incident.

The jury watched the girl's police interview during which she described how Johnson was her favourite player.

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

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

She then explained how the player continued to message her, talking about getting 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.

Last week, the jury heard how Johnson, of Castle Eden, Co. Durham, has admitted one count of sexual activity with a child and another of meeting a child following grooming.

He denies two further counts of sexual activity with a child, which prosecutors have described as "more serious".

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

He was wearing a dark blue suit, with a white shirt and a dark tie.

The girl described how Johnson exchanged WhatsApp messages with her after their first meeting, saying "you owe me for this" and "am I going to get a thank you kiss?".

The teenager said that at the second meeting, in the player's Range Rover, Johnson said to her: "I've come for my thank you kiss."

She said that she eventually told him "go on then", and they began kissing.

"I was kissing him for quite a while," the girl said.

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

"He got his hand down my trousers. He started to put his hands in my knickers."

The girl then described to the officer further sexual activity between the pair.

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

She replied that the player knew how old she was, what school year she was in and where she sat at Sunderland matches. She said Johnson also knew her date of birth.

She said: "He asked me when I was 16."

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."

She then said: "It wasn't that I didn't want it or anything. I just knew it was wrong. I'm not one for being able to hold guilt."

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

She said this activity also happened during the pair's second meeting in his car, on January 30 last year.

The girl described again how Johnson allegedly put her hand on his trousers, over his groin.

She then described a sex act which she said only happened for three or four seconds.

The girl told the officer: "He said if I kept on going he would have to have sex with us and stuff like that."

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

The girl, who appeared to be wearing school uniform during this second interview at a police station in Durham, became tearful as she told the officer how she was feeling.

She had earlier described how she had tried to block out what had allegedly happened.

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.

She also said that rumours had begun to circulate about the other sexual activity but not about this. She said she was worried that talking about it "would only make it worse".

"It was bad enough already," she said.

The teenager told the officer how she told her father about what happened because "I was getting upset".

"I don't like hiding things from my mum and dad," she said.

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

The teenager could be seen sobbing on the screens in court about an hour into Mr Pownall's cross-examination.

Judge Jonathan Rose ordered a 10-minute break in proceedings.

Before the break, Mr Pownall had pressed her on why she had asked friends to lie for her and whether she had lied to the police about her use of mobile phones after the incident.

She said: "I wanted to keep him (Johnson) out of trouble. I didn't want to get him in more trouble than he was."

And the teenager added: "I was scared that people wouldn't believe me."

She said: "I didn't want to believe that it had happened."

The teenager told the jury: "I tried to forget about it. I was trying to live normally."

Just before the girl broke down, she told the barrister: "At the time I didn't realise it was wrong. I didn't realise what had gone on was wrong."

An hour earlier, opening his cross-examination of the girl, Mr Pownall said to her: "It is accepted that you have been seriously wronged by Adam Johnson."

The teenager was in tears as she agreed with the barrister that his client had pleaded guilty to "sexual activity with you and of meeting you for the purpose of sexual activity following grooming".

Mr Pownall said: "What this jury had to decide is the extent of that sexual activity which took place on 30th January last year."

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