Adam Johnson's ex-teammates refuse to give evidence

Adam Johnson. photo / AP
Adam Johnson. photo / AP

Adam Johnson's ex-teammates at Sunderland have distanced themselves from him since he admitted grooming a schoolgirl, his trial heard today.

It is understood that players including Steven Fletcher had been due to give evidence on his behalf in the trial.

But they are no longer going to do so after Johnson changed his pleas on charges of grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old, relating to kissing the girl.

Johnson, who is standing trial for two more serious child sex offences, was in the witness box at Bradford Crown Court today.

His barrister, Orlando Pownall QC, asked him: 'Since you pleaded guilty how has their approach been to you?' Johnson told jurors: 'They took a step back.'

The court heard that Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne, Johnson, his barrister and the footballer's father met for a conference on May 4 2015 where the footballer accepted that he had kissed the 15-year-old girl and messages had been exchanged.

Mrs Byrne was also issued with a copy of his police interview transcript and that of his alleged victim.

Despite this, Johnson continued playing for the club until earlier this month.

The court heard that Johnson's father, Dave Johnson, received a phone call telling him his contract at the club had been terminated after his guilty pleas.


ohnson received a 'one or two-line' email from the club notifying him of their decision, the court heard.

The former Sunderland player met the schoolgirl in January last year in his black Range Rover.

He insists they only kissed but the girl says she performed a sex act on him and he put his hand down her trousers.

Cross examining Johnson at his trial today, the prosecutor confronted him with the messages he sent the girl shortly after the meeting.

One said: 'Think we need to go in the back next time' and another read: 'it was class - just wanted to get jeans off, lol.'

Johnson says he was talking about possible future sexual activity and insisted he had not done anything more than kiss the schoolgirl minutes earlier.


In another message, he wrote to the girl: 'You felt very turned on'. He said that was due to the passionate kiss they shared.

The court heard that, while the messages were being exchanged, his partner, Stacey Flounders, had had sent him a picture of their daughter to which he said she looked 'class'.

Miss Blackwell said: 'That's the same word that you used to describe the sexual encounter with (the girl), 'It was class', 'She looks class'.'

A text from Miss Flounders said: 'If you are doing stuff then you need to stop and think about us and think about us as a family.'

He replied: 'Yeh I will...'

The court heard that Miss Flounders had pleaded with him to try harder.

Miss Blackwell said: 'Your response to Stacey was, 'stop being paranoid'. She had every right to worry, didn't she?

'The very thing that she feared was happening was taking place at that very minute.'

Johnson reiterated his claim that his internet search for 'legal age of consent' days after meeting the girl was not connected with their tryst.

He said his interest was sparked by a discussion he had with teammates about the TV documentary Ross Kemp on Gangs, which featured girls aged 11 being married in Africa.

Miss Blackwell QC said: 'Some people may feel sorry for you because you have thrown away your glittering career. The position you are in now was a direct result of your excessive arrogance.'

Johnson replied: 'I would say more stupidity.'

Miss Blackwell said: 'The position here is that, while you have a sense of shame, you have no sense of remorse, do you?'

He replied: 'Yes, I do.'

A number of schoolmates of the alleged victim also gave evidence today.

One girl said Johnson's accuser had been 'bragging' about her meetings with him and said she didn't care if was wrong or whether he had a girlfriend 'because he was a footballer'.

Another witness said the girl was 'a bit confused' about her second meeting with Johnson because 'she didn't know whether to be happy about it or worry'.

She said she had seen Johnson's car driving away from where they met and had recognised his registration plate.

A court also heard from a boy from the victim's school who set up a Facebook chat group to discuss the rumours surrounding her.

Prosecution QC Miss Blackwell put it to him that he threatened to rape one member of the chat group.

The boy said he didn't remember doing that, but Ms Blackwell replied: 'Take it from me that you did write that.'

Another boy from the girl's school revealed she stopped going to Sunderland matches after Johnson's arrest because she feared she would be recognised.

He added: 'I don't trust her. I don't trust her because she doesn't tell the truth.'

The trial continues.

- Daily Mail

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