The sister of former England footballer Adam Johnson has said she will not be in court to see him jailed today because “I just don’t want him to see the pain in my eyes”.
Faye Johnson used a Facebook page dedicated to supporting the former Sunderland winger to say she will not be attending Bradford Crown Court to see Johnson sentenced for engaging in sexual activity with a besotted 15-year-old fan.
She said Johnson’s former partner and the mother of his one-year-old daughter, Stacey Flounders, will also not be at the hearing.
In the post, Ms Johnson said: “Today is the sentencing for my brother, the worst day of my life.
“I just wanted to let all of the supporters know that I will not be attending Bradford Crown Court, the reason for this is Adam has always been my hero, my brother and my best friend, I just don’t want him to see the pain in my eyes.
“Instead I will be at home with my little boy, Adam’s number 1 fan, Adam’s daughter and the mother of his child Stacey.
“I remain proud of my big brother and I am 100% behind him and I always will be.”
Johnson was told by a judge that he faced a “substantial prison sentence” after he was found guilty of one offence of sexual activity with a child by a jury in Bradford earlier this month.
The player had already admitted another count of the same offence and also grooming the girl, who idolised him.
Judge Jonathan Rose made the warning after granting the 28-year-old bail, telling him: “You can say goodbye to your daughter. A prison sentence will mean you will not see her for some time.”
Judge Rose told the player – who earned £60,000 a week with Sunderland – his preliminary view was that the case falls into the category of a five-year prison sentence with a possible range of four to 10 years.
All the charges relate to an incident in Johnson’s Range Rover when he met up with the girl in County Durham on January 30 last year.
A line of police officers guarded the front of Bradford Crown Court as preparations were made for Johnson’s arrival.
The jury heard how Johnson began exchanging hundreds of messages with the girl on social media at New Year 2015. He eventually agreed to meet her to sign football shirts.
But it was when they met for a second time that he asked for his “thank you kiss”.
Johnson admitted kissing the girl but denied any further sexual activity. The girl told the jury how the player digitally penetrated her after putting his hands down her pants and that she then gave him oral sex.
The jury cleared Johnson of the count relating to oral sex but found him guilty on a majority of 10-2 on the count relating to the digital penetration.
After he was found guilty, his teenage victim said she felt “so broken”. She said she had endured a year of being called a liar as Johnson continued to proclaim his innocence.
The player – who was capped 12 times for England – has a one-year-old daughter with Ms Flounders, who supported him during the court case but who told the jury they were now just friends.