Former England footballer Adam Johnson has been jailed for six years for engaging in sexual activity with a besotted 15-year-old fan after a judge was told he was also arrested for possessing extreme pornography.
After Johnson was jailed at Bradford Crown Court, restrictions were lifted which have prevented the reporting of the 28-year-old’s arrest in relation to alleged extreme pornographic images, thought to be bestiality-related, found on his computer.
The arrest was mentioned in hearings at Durham Crown Court prior to Johnson’s trial. Durham Police confirmed he has now been released from his bail in relation to this matter and no further action will be taken.
It is understood the images found on the computer were of a “jokey” nature.
The pre-trial hearings also heard how police found medicines in a safe when Johnson was arrested which indicated he may have been suffering from sexually transmitted infections.
Johnson showed no emotion as he stood in the dock, flanked by a security guard, as Judge Jonathan Rose said: “I am satisfied that (the girl) has suffered severe psychological harm and have no doubt that I should take this into account.”
Judge Rose told the former Sunderland and Manchester City winger that he took advantage of “a young teenager’s adoration of a successful celebrity”.
Johnson looked straight ahead and did not glance at his parents, Sonia and Dave, who also showed no emotion as they sat listening in the front row of the public gallery.
The packed courtroom listened in silence as Judge Rose repeated how Johnson had kissed and sexually touched the girl in his Range Rover, in a secluded spot in County Durham, on January 30 last year.
The judge told the player the offences happened “at a time when you were engaged in frequent sexual intercourse with multiple partners”.
And he outlined how various medical professionals had agreed he suffered from “compulsive sexual behaviour”.
According to the judge, Johnson told a psychiatrist: “Another one to get with.”
The judge said Johnson, who ran past photographers into the court building but sauntered into the dock chewing gum, will need treatment for his sexual problems.
Judge Rose outlined how Johnson’s offending happened when he met the girl for a second time after exchanging hundreds of social media messages with her.
The first time they met he gave her a signed football shirt and, when they met again, he asked for his “thank you kiss”.
Johnson admitted kissing the girl but denied the girl’s claim that he touched her inside her pants and how she then performed oral sex on him.
A jury found him guilty of sexual activity with a child in relation to “digital penetration” but cleared him of the same offence relating to the oral sex claim.
He had already admitted another charge of sexual activity with a child in relation to kissing and also of grooming the girl.
The judge said Johnson had lied repeatedly, referring as he did so to the controversy over whether he delayed his guilty pleas to enable him to continue his £60,000-a-week career with Sunderland.
The judge said: “You lied about the nature and extent of your contact with her, and you lied then and throughout the months which followed about the level of your sexual activity with her.
“You had every opportunity to enter guilty pleas to the matters you finally admitted to the court but you chose not to do so, and one consequence of that is that (the girl) was regarded as a liar, by her peers and by the football supporters who would chant abuse about her.
“Little wonder that by the time of this trial she had, in her words, endured a year of abuse, of being called a liar and other more graphic insults, and was deeply upset by what you had done to her and by her treatment, such that she required counselling and such that she reached the lowest ebb after she gave evidence.”
He added: “She speaks of entering many dark places in that year and said she had suffered bullying and stress and had underachieved at school as a result of the case.”
The judge said Johnson must pay £50,000 of the prosecution’s £67,132 costs.
Johnson, of Castle Eden, County Durham, arrived in court wearing a blue suit with a white shirt and blue tie. When he reappeared later for legal arguments after his sentence, he was wearing grey jogging bottoms and a grey sweatshirt.
He appeared 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”.
Orlando Pownall, defending, told the judge: “He has lost a lucrative career he will never be able to retrieve. He has been stripped of his England caps. He has been made the subject of national humiliation and these are all aspects of punishment that arise from his pleas and conviction.”
The QC added: “He does not pose a significant risk of harm to children, for (the victim) was not selected on her age but despite her age.”
He said that despite the huge publicity surrounding the case, no other underage girls have complained about Johnson.
“This is not the case of a predatory paedophile who has sought out children for sexual purposes,” he said.
“This was an aberration.”
The Press Association understands Johnson has not been stripped of his 12 England caps.
The 28-year-old former Sunderland, Manchester City and Middlesbrough winger made his England debut against Mexico on May 24 2010 and made four starts and eight substitute appearances in the next two years. Five of his appearances were in competitive matches and both his England goals came in European Championship qualifying fixtures.
His final England appearance was against Italy on August 15 2012.
Johnson was sacked by Sunderland when he entered his guilty pleas in February. Controversy still surrounds whether he delayed his pleas in order to lengthen his playing career and how much Sunderland knew about his culpability.
Margaret Byrne, the club chief executive, resigned in the wake of the controversy.