The victim of former England footballer Adam Johnson suffered “severe psychological harm” because of his actions, a court has heard.
Johnson is facing a “substantial prison sentence” after he was found guilty of one offence of sexual activity with a besotted 15-year-old fan by a jury earlier this month.
The winger had already admitted another count of the same offence and also grooming the girl, who idolised the former Sunderland player.
Prosecutor Kate Blackwell QC told Bradford Crown Court that there was a “significant disparity” in age between the victim and the defendant, who was of previous good character.
She said: “At the time of the commission of these offences, (the victim) was one month after her 15th birthday and the defendant was 27. He was all but twice her age, 13 years older.
“The most apparent feature in the view of the Crown is the severe psychological harm that the defendant has caused to the victim.”
Johnson, 28, was without the support of former partner Stacey Flounders, the mother of his one-year-old daughter, and his sister, Faye Johnson, who used a Facebook post to say she would not attend the hearing because she did not want her brother “to see the pain in my eyes”.
After Johnson’s conviction, Judge Jonathan Rose told the Ex-Sunderland player: “You can say goodbye to your daughter” because “you will not see her for some time.”
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.
Miss Blackwell said the victim had suffered at school, both in her work and from bullying because of Johnson’s actions.
Miss Blackwell read part of the girl’s victim impact statement to the court, which said: “This whole experience has been overwhelming. Through the process I have had many hard times.”
The statement said that because Johnson had protested his innocence, the victim “felt very intimidated by it all and felt very lonely. I have entered many dark places over this 12-month period and at times wanted to just shut the whole world out.
“Even after Adam pleaded guilty to the two charges, I have still been the subject of bullying.”
The teenager’s mother said in a statement read to the court that her family had “taken no satisfaction” in the impact the case had on Johnson’s family and stressed that at no time had they tried to seek any financial gain.
She added that her daughter had been the victim of thousands of “slanderous” and “malicious” remarks and threats of violence on social media.