Ex-Sunderland footballer, Adam Johnson, was described as a “bit of a paedophile” for pursuing a 15-year-old girl, a court heard today.
A teenager told the jury she did not believe her friend’s claims that she’d had a sexual encounter with the former Sunderland player at first.
Johnson has admitted sexual activity with the then 15-year-old girl in his black Range Rover.
The girl told Bradford Crown Court her friend then showed her 20 messages on her phone from the 28-year-old father of one.
The girl, who cannot be identified because of her age said: “At first I thought, it’s definitely not Adam Johnson.”
Kate Blackwell QC, prosecuting, asked the witness, giving evidence via a video link: “Why did you not think it was Adam Johnson?”
The girl replied: “Cos he’s, however old he is. And why would he? He’s a bit of a paedophile if he’s going for a 15…kids and that.”
Johnson has pleaded guilty to grooming the girl aged 15, between December 30, 2014 and February 26, 2015, and sexual activity with her, involving kissing on January 30, last year.
The footballer, who played as a winger, is on trial after denying two further counts of sexual activity with a child.
The youngster, a football fan, had an “enormous crush on him” but he “abused his position in society” after the two began exchanging messages on social media, it is alleged.
They initially met up so he could personally sign football shirts for the girl, the court heard.
After this first meeting the two joked in their messages about whether Johnson deserved a “thank you kiss” and they met again, when the sexual activity is alleged to have taken place.
Words: Jonny Whitfield