Footballer groomed girl ‘in purest form’

Adam Johnson arriving at Bradford Crown Court for his trialImage copyright
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Adam Johnson has “lied and lied and lied again”, the prosecution claim

Footballer Adam Johnson manipulated a 15-year-old girl for sexual activity in a case of “grooming in its purest form”, a court has heard.

Mr Johnson is on trial at Bradford Crown Court accused of sexual activity with a teenage Sunderland AFC fan.

The prosecution said there was a “core of deceit and lies” behind the winger’s evidence.

The 28-year-old has admitted grooming and kissing the girl but denies more serious sex acts took place.

It is alleged incidents took place in his Range Rover in a car park behind a Chinese takeaway in County Durham.


Kate Blackwell QC, prosecuting, told the court messages exchanged between the pair were “building up to a sexual encounter”.

She said: “What’s clear through the WhatsApp messages is he guided her in a classic case of grooming. Grooming in its purest form.”

In the prosecution’s closing speech, Miss Blackwell said Mr Johnson was a man who had “pretty much everything” but cheated on his girlfriend, Stacey Flounders, the mother of his daughter, in a way that “demonstrated his exceptional duplicity”.

She said: “He’s a self-confessed arrogant man who throws himself at your mercy and asks you to accept that his contrition for what he has done is genuine.”

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In her evidence, Stacey Flounders told the court she saw no future in her relationship with Mr Johnson after he admitted cheating on her with several women

Miss Blackwell told the court that Mr Johnson’s claims the sexual activity had not gone further than a kiss were “preposterous”.

She added: “He’s a man who has lied, and lied, and lied again.”

The prosecutor told the jury some of the girl’s evidence was inconsistent but added: “She’s not a young child, but neither is she a sophisticated adult.

“All the make-up and sparkly dresses in the world cannot mature the soul. While she thinks she knows it all, she has so much to learn.”


Miss Blackwell said there was no evidence that the girl made the complaint to get Mr Johnson into trouble and said her parents made the decision to go to the police.

The prosecutor reaffirmed the allegation made earlier in the trial that he did not enter early guilty pleas to the charges involving grooming and kissing the girl so he could continue his football career for as long as possible.

“It was the defendant’s choice to avoid a conviction as long as he could to avoid signing the sex offenders’ register and avoid hanging up his boots,” she said.

“The fact that he was given the green light to continue playing for his club was not a green light to continue lying to the courts.”

‘Lost his job’

Orlando Pownall QC, giving the closing speech for the defence, told the jury: “Whatever your verdicts, everybody is a loser.

“(The girl) has been affected by what happened, whatever you might think about the events that unfolded, she was then a child who, for that reason alone, deserved protection.

“Mr Johnson will have to pay the price for his actions. He has lost his job, he has been dropped by his sponsors and he will be subject to criticism, both publicly and privately, for many years to come.”

Mr Johnson, who the court has heard earned £60,000 per week, was sacked by Sunderland AFC after pleading guilty on the first day of his trial to one count of grooming and one count of sexual activity with a child.

He denies two further counts of sexual activity with a child.

Mr Johnson began his career at Middlesbrough before moving to Manchester City and then on to Sunderland in 2012 and won 12 England caps between 2010-2012.

The case continues.

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