Teenager asked friends to lie 'to keep Adam Johnson out of trouble'

Adam Johnson outside Bradford Crown Court
Adam Johnson outside Bradford Crown Court

The teenager at the centre of the Adam Johnson trial admitted that she asked friends to lie to police about the footballer.

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The barrister representing the former Sunderland winger said the girl had been "seriously wronged" by his grooming of her.

But, under questioning, she told the court that she had asked friends to lie to police about her meetings with the England international to help keep him 'out of trouble'.

The jury also heard that the girl confided in her father after she had planned to meet Johnson for a third time but he cancelled at the last minute.

Johnson is on trial at Bradford Crown Court, where he stands accused of two counts of sexual activity with a child.

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Last week, the sacked player pleaded guilty to meeting a child following grooming and one count of sexual activity with a child.

Today at the same court Orlando Pownall QC, defending Johnson, cross-examined the complainant in these charges.

He opened his questioning by saying the girl had been "wronged" by his client.

"It is accepted that you have been seriously wronged by Adam Johnson," Mr Pownall said.

"You know he has pleaded guilty to sexual activity with you and to meeting up for the purpose of sexual activity following grooming.

In questioning the girl, who is under 16 and cannot be named for legal reasons, Mr Pownall accused her of telling "untruths" and asking people who knew her to lie on her behalf.

The girl admitted that she "did not want" her friends "to say to police" about one of the sex acts alleged to have taken place between her and Johnson

She told jurors: "I was still trying to keep Adam Johnson out of trouble."

The girl broke down in tears during her evidence and continued: "At that time I didn't realise it was wrong and I didn't realise that what had gone on was wrong."

She added: "I didn't want to believe it had happened.

"I was trying to forget about it and I was trying to still live normally."

In evidence, the girl told jurors she asked her friends to lie to police to "protect somebody else" not herself.

Under oath, the girl also admitted that she "consciously lied" to police regarding the whereabouts of a phone she was using while hers was examined by officers.

Her own phone was taken so WhatsApp messages between she and Johnson, of Castle Eden, County Durham, could be downloaded.

The girl was given another phone to use by a family member, for which she bought a SIM card - but when police asked for the phone, the girl asked her family member to lie and say it had been returned.

Mr Pownall also accused the girl of asking her friends to delete messages from their own phones which went into details of what happened between her and the footballer.

The girl said she "could not remember" specifically asking her friends to wipe their phones.

Jurors heard that the girl and Johnson met on two occasions, and that the footballer had asked to meet her at other times.

On the night the girl later confided in her father about the incidents, a meeting was arranged between the pair.

The girl was out in County Durham with a group of friends on the night in question.

Orlando Pownall QC, defending, alleged that when Johnson was unable to meet she "lost face and credibility" to her friends.

"You had been bigging it up, and no Adam Johnson showed up," he added.

The girl said it was "no biggie" as she had cancelled meetings between them previously herself.

Mr Pownall continued to say that the rumours about the girl and Johnson "got out of control" when some of her friends began to talk about the meetings to others.

It was then, the barrister alleged, that she decided to tell her father about the incidents because she was worried about "what would be said" at school the following day.

The girl admitted she "was trying to cover it up" but continued: "I had to describe to my mam and dad, breaking their hearts.

"I had to deal with everybody calling me names and I was still trying to protect him.

"I didn't want to say there was another meeting."

She added: "I wanted to stop them all finding out about it and the police from finding out about it.

"I didn't want anything done about it, I just wanted to forget about it.

"I was concerned because I didn't want him to lose his career or anything. I wasn't bothered about myself at all."


The trial continues.