JOHNSON: I WANTED SEX WITH GIRL,15
But he denies it happening
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)