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Footballer 'a bit of a paedophile', teen tells trial

By Pat Hurst

Published 19/02/2016

Trial: Adam Johnson
Trial: Adam Johnson

Premier League footballer Adam Johnson would be a "bit of a paedophile" for going after a 15-year-old girl, a court has heard.

A teenager told the jury she did not at first believe her friend's claims she had a sexual encounter with the ex-Sunderland and England star, who has admitted sexual activity with the 15-year-old girl in his Range Rover.

The girl yesterday told Bradford Crown Court her friend then showed her "20 times" 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', then..."

Kate Blackwell QC, prosecuting, asked the witness, giving evidence via a video link: "Why did you not think it was Adam Johnson?"

The girl in a strong north eastern accent 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, capped 12 times for his country, 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.

The witness agreed that the messages between her friend and Johnson could be described as "flirting", adding: "He must have known she was not 16. He had said 'Oh well, when are you going to be 16?' And he said 'Oh, that's ages away'."

The court heard that Johnson and the girl began communicating on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, and the footballer allegedly set up a second Snapchat account so his girlfriend would not discover his activities.

The trial continues.

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