Jury urged to see through Adam Johnson’s ‘deceit and lies’ and convict him of child sex offences

Adam Johnson arrives at Bradford Crown Court.
Adam Johnson arrives at Bradford Crown Court.

The prosecutor at the Adam Johnson trial has urged jurors to look at his core of “deceit and lies” and convict him of child sex offences.

Follow the Adam Johnson trial on our live blog HERE.

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

Kate Blackwell QC, prosecuting

Kate Blackwell QC addressed jurors at the sacked footballer’s trial at Bradford Crown Court today.

She summarised the case against 28-year-old - and urged the jury to find him guilty of sexual activity with a child.

Miss Blackwell told the court that what Johnson, who has already admitted grooming and kissing an underage girl, has done is “grooming in its purest form”.

And she spoke of his lack of respect for now ex-girlfriend Stacey Flounders and the rest of his family.

“It is the prosecution case that he has not faced up to his responsibilities and he has demonstrated that he lacks integrity through his dealings with the girl, through his dealings with Stacey Flounders and through his dealings with the court,” she said.

The prosecutor continued to say that Johnson was a “self-confessed, arrogant man” and added: “He throws himself at your mercy and asks you to accept that his contrition for what he has done is genuine, but we expect that you have seen through his transparent cloak of rectitude.

“It doesn’t take much to lift the material and peek inside and see a core of deceit and lies.”

Miss Blackwell also spoke to the jury about Johnson’s lies to police, and how he tried to “play down” his involvement in the case.

In evidence, jurors have heard that on arrest Johnson admitted kissing the girl, but denied he had touched her or encouraged her to engage in a sex act.

But the prosecutor claimed that it was “preposterous” to believe that he had a “sudden epiphany” and stopped.

She added: “He claims he stopped short of what had been planned and what for many, many days he had desired and coveted.

“He suddenly, and without warning, pulled himself out of the passionate clinch with her and remembered his partner and child.”

The court also heard from Johnson when he was on the stand that he was sexually attracted to the girl from the start of their communications, that he encouraged her to engage with him sexually and that he asked for naked pictures of her.

Miss Blackwell reminded jurors that the girl’s credibility would need to be considered - but that despite “silly inconsistencies” in her story, such as where Johnson’s car was or what a friend said to her, she has already told a large part of the truth regarding the offences that the footballer has admitted, and should be believed.

He entered these guilty pleas on February 10, on the day his trial was listed to begin.

Speaking of the girl, the prosecutor said: “All the make-up and sparkly dresses in the world can’t mature the soul inside the girl.

“She thinks she knows it all, but she has got so much to learn.

“From flirting with a much older man, to engaging in rude messages, to swearing with her friends, to meeting up with Adam Johnson.”

Miss Blackwell added that the evidence we heard from the girl’s father, which revealed to the court that the girl had cried into his lap and threatened to kill herself as she confided in him about Johnson, did not paint the scene of a girl who was “scorned” and was reporting the crimes to police for “devious” reasons.

She added: “She has no reason to lie.”

Miss Blackwell also drew jurors’ attention to the evidence heard about Johnson’s bodily grooming, and whether or not he shaves his groin area, a cast he wore on his left hand, which he alleged to police restricted the movement of his hand, his first meeting with barrister Orlando Pownall QC.

This meeting was also attended by Johnson’s father and SAFC chief executive Margaret Byrne.

This week, it was said in court that Johnson did not enter his guilty pleas at an earlier stage to avoid a flurry of media attention ahead of his trial.

Johnson also waived his right to privilege, and said that if he had been given legal advice to plead guilty earlier, he would have.

The prosecutor has questioned whether or not this is truthful, and continued: “He said he made it quite clear to the football club [at a meeting on May 4, 2015] that he was guilty of an offence.

“You be the judge as to whether or not avoiding publicity was well and truly at the heart of his decision, regardless of what legal advice he was given, not to enter these guilty pleas as soon as he could.

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

“Just because he was given the green light to carry on playing for this club, does not mean he was given the green light to continue lying to the court.”

Mr Pownall will give his own closing statement for the defence this afternoon. The trial continues.