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Teen fan idolised England star Adam Johnson, child sex trial hears

By Dave Higgens

England footballer Adam Johnson had a sexual encounter in his car with a 15-year-old fan who had an "enormous crush on him" and idolised him, a jury has been told.

Prosecutors said the former Sunderland winger "abused his revered position in society" when he had sexual contact with the teenager "in a way that he knew was morally and legally wrong".

The girl contacted the 28-year-old via Facebook, a jury at Bradford Crown Court heard, and the two began exchanging messages before they met so he could sign shirts for her. After the first meeting, the two joked in their messages about whether Johnson deserved a "thank you kiss".

Prosecutor Kate Blackwell QC described how the two engaged in sexual activity in the player's black Range Rover at a second meeting on January 30, 2015. Miss Blackwell claimed that Johnson and the girl kissed and that he unbuttoned her jeans before stopping. But, she added, he did not stop because "of a pang of conscience", instead, it was alleged, he drove to a more secluded area, where further sexual activity took place.

She told the jury that the pair exchanged further messages after the encounter and Johnson told the girl: "It was class." He added: "Just wanted to get your jeans off, LOL." The court heard the girl replied: "Next time."

Miss Blackwell said: "What has brought the defendant to this courtroom is a sexual desire for (the girl), an excessive arrogance and an unwarranted level of expectation. He abused his position in society and, having met this 15-year-old girl, and knowing that she looked up to him, made a conscious decision to act in a way that he knew was both morally and legally wrong."

Miss Blackwell said the girl was a passionate Sunderland fan and Johnson was her favourite player. She also read to the jury a series of messages exchanged between Johnson and the girl in which the girl allegedly made clear her age and congratulated the footballer on the birth of his daughter.

Johnson was arrested after the girl told her parents what had happened and they told the police, the prosecutor said.

The footballer denies two counts of sexual activity with a child, but Miss Blackwell told the jury that Johnson had already admitted one count of sexual activity with a child and another of meeting a child following sexual grooming.

She said: "The Crown's case is that he is guilty of further and more serious sexual activity."

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

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