But he de­nies it hap­pen­ing

Midweek Sport - - FRONT PAGE - By COLIN HURST news@sun­

ADAM John­son has ad­mit­ted he gave the 15-year-old girl he groomed his phone num­ber be­cause he wanted to have a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with her.

Speak­ing from the wit­ness box yes­ter­day, the sacked foot­baller ac­knowl­edged his re­la­tion­ship with the girl had be­come “in­ap­pro­pri­ate”.

The shamed star, 28, ad­mit­ted: “It was friendly at first, then it changed. It be­came more flirty and in­ap­pro­pri­ate from me.”

An­swer­ing ques­tions from de­fence lawyer Or­lando Pow­nall QC, John­son ad­mit­ted be­com­ing at­tracted to the girl af­ter see­ing her af­ter Sun­der­land games, adding: “I started recog­nis­ing her. I saw her more of­ten.”

Asked if he wanted some sort of sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with the girl, John­son said: “Yeah.”

The for­mer Eng­land winger has pre­vi­ously ad­mit­ted groom­ing the girl and one count of sex­ual ac­tiv­ity with a child, but de­nies two more se­ri­ous counts.


Yes­ter­day he de­nied claims the girl had given him oral sex or put her hand on his groin area.

Re­spond­ing to claims from his al­leged vic­tim that he had shaved his pu­bic hair, John­son said: “I just ti­died it up.”

He also claimed an in­ti­mate pic­ture of his groin re­cov­ered from his phone – shown to jurors ear­lier in the trial – was taken “to show the doc­tor”.

He said he hadn’t con­tem­plated a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with the teen at first, in­sist­ing they had sim­ply chat­ted about foot­ball for the first 16 days of mes­sag­ing.

Speak­ing of their first meet­ing on Jan­uary 17 last year, John­son told how he signed two shirts for the girl in a se­cluded car park.

He then said he dropped the girl off at a shop “to buy some sweets or some­thing”.

Mes­sages be­tween the pair then turned flirty with men­tions of a “thank you kiss” and a “bit of feel­ing”.

John­son told jurors it had been the girl who had sug­gested kiss­ing in the car on their se­cond meet­ing, while ad­mit­ting he lied to the po­lice about their flirty mes­sages.

He said: “I hoped that she had deleted the mes­sages.

“I knew how in­ap­pro­pri­ate they were and I didn’t know where they were go­ing to leave me if she hadn’t.”

He also tried to “play down” how pas­sion­ate their kiss was when he was in­ter­viewed by po­lice.

John­son said: “I didn’t want it to be seen how bad it was – I was em­bar­rassed, I was pan­ick­ing, it was all dawn­ing on me very quickly.”

He also ad­mit­ted he and the girl had dis­cussed meet­ing for a third time, but de­nied he had agreed to have sex with her.

John­son told jurors: “I didn’t know what was go­ing to hap­pen.

“The mes­sages slowed down and we lost con­tact.”

When asked by Mr Pow­nall if he was wor­ried what the teen would do if he “dropped her”, John­son replied: “I was try­ing to let her down easy and not say any­thing to up­set her.

“I was wor­ried she would tell her friend, that she would tell Stacey [Floun­ders], she could con­tact her on Twit­ter and make things up, I was wor­ried about that.

“At first when I was giv­ing her the shirt I thought I was do­ing a good deed but it should

not have gone that far. I shouldn’t have done what I did.”

The for­mer Sun­der­land player, who was sacked by the club, also re­vealed the girl tried to con­tact him on Snapchat af­ter go­ing to the po­lice.

He told how she had sent him a selfie with the cap­tion: “Sc (Snapchat) me please.”

John­son told jurors how he “pan­icked” when he told girl­friend Stacey Floun­ders the girl was 16 be­fore ad­mit­ting she was 15 to po­lice of­fi­cers.


He also ad­mit­ted he had been a “hyp­ocrite” for tex­ting the girl and Stacey si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

He said: “I wanted the chance to come home and ex­plain what hap­pened.

“I didn’t want Stacey to leave and take my daugh­ter. I was pan­ick­ing. I was just wor­ry­ing about ev­ery­thing, my ca­reer, my fam­ily, I was hon­estly in tur­moil.”

He then went to his par­ents’ house fol­low­ing his in­ter­view and spoke to Stacey that evening, adding: “I can’t de­scribe how hard it was, how bad it was for her. “I told her ev­ery­thing.” John­son had ear­lier ar­rived at Brad­ford Crown Court with his father, Dave John­son, for the eighth day of his trial for child sex of­fences.

But John­son’s girl­friend Stacey Floun­ders, 26, was again nowhere to be seen as the foot­baller pre­pared to be cross-ex­am­ined, hav­ing last ap­peared at court with him on Tues­day last week.

The trial has heard that John­son met the girl twice in his black Range Rover af­ter ex­chang­ing tele­phone num­bers and mes­sag­ing each other over a num­ber of weeks.

The foot­baller signed Sun­der­land shirts dur­ing the first meet­ing in Jan­uary last year and has ad­mit­ted kiss­ing the teenager dur­ing the se­cond meet­ing.

Mes­sages be­tween the pair dis­cussed meet­ing for a se­cond time so the girl could give John­son a “thank you kiss” for the shirts.

They met in a car park on Jan­uary 30 last year and John­son said they ini­tially talked about foot­ball.

He said: “And then the kiss hap­pened.”

John­son, of Cas­tle Eden, Co Durham, told the court he wanted to kiss the girl and en­joyed it.

He said he knew it was a “pos­si­bil­ity” that he would be touch­ing the girl sex­u­ally when they met in his car and said he wanted to do that but de­nies tak­ing part in fur­ther sex­ual ac­tiv­ity.

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

John­son an­swered: “No, I never.”

When asked if he ac­cepted that the girl was blame­less, John­son said: “Yes.”

In cross-ex­am­i­na­tion, John­son said he did not think of him­self as an honourable man.

He agreed that he was ar­ro­gant and au­da­cious and “lived the life of a celebrity”.

Kate Black­well QC, pros­e­cut­ing, said: “You pretty much got ev­ery­thing you wanted. You were adored by your fans.”

John­son agreed that he had taken a “bold risk” by meet­ing up with the girl.


But he de­nied tak­ing ad­van­tage of the fact that she was a 15-year-old Sun­der­land foot­ball fan who idolised him.

The foot­baller said he knew that he had “se­ri­ously wronged” the girl.

The court heard that John­son mes­saged the girl to say she “owed” him for sign­ing the Sun­der­land shirts.

Miss Black­well said: “You weren’t sug­gest­ing that she owes you money, were you?

“You were sug­gest­ing that she owed you a favour. A sex­ual favour.”

The pros­e­cu­tor said John­son en­cour­aged the girl to meet him for a “thank you kiss” in the hope it would en­cour­age her to en­gage in sex­ual ac­tiv­ity with him.

He agreed that his at­ti­tude to the thank you kiss was “keen”.

Miss Black­well said: “And you did make it hap­pen, didn’t you? Be­cause you were the adult here, weren’t you? You were in con­trol.”

John­son ad­mit­ted that he wanted to touch “pri­vate parts” of the girl’s body but said the pair did noth­ing more than kiss.

When asked why, he said: “Be­cause when I had my kiss I knew that it was wrong and I didn’t want it to carry on any fur­ther.”

The trial con­tin­ues.

AC­CUSED: Adam John­son ( left) and his girl­friend Stacey Floun­ders ( below)

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