Girl wanted to ‘protect’ Johnson’s career

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Mr Johnson, 28, has admitted sexual activity with the girl after they met up for a “thank you kiss and more” after he signed two football shirts for her. He has admitted grooming a child but denies two further counts that prosecutors have described as “more serious”.

The girl, who was 15 at the time in January last year, twice wept during cross-examination by Mr Johnson's lawyer after being pressed about whether she had lied.

She said that she began to panic after rumours started to circulate about what had happened. “I was concerned because I didn't want him to lose his career or anything,” she said. “I wasn't bothered about myself in it all.”

Speaking via videolink, she told a jury in Bradford that she wanted to keep Johnson out of trouble. “I didn't want to believe that it had happened,” she said. The court has heard that sexual activity took place in Mr Johnson's car after the pair exchanged WhatsApp messages after he signed her football shirts. Mr Johnson told her: “You owe me for this” and “Am I going to get a thank you kiss?” In her police interview shown to the court, the girl described how kissing developed into sex acts in the car with the former Sunderland player. The girl said in the interview that the player knew how old she was, what school year she was in and her date of birth. “He asked me when I was 16,” she said.

“As much as I expected it [the sexual activity] to happen, I was a bit shocked it had. I sort of knew I had done something wrong. It wasn't that I didn't want it or anything. I just knew it was wrong. I'm not one for being able to hold guilt.” The teenager told police she had told her father about what happened because she “was getting upset” and added: “I don't like hiding things from my mum and dad.”

She broke down while being questioned by Mr Johnson's barrister, Orlando Pownall QC, and the judge ordered a 10-minute break.

Just before the girl broke down, she told the barrister: “At the time I didn't realise it was wrong.”

The trial continues. – The Independent

Original source: Girl wanted to ‘protect’ Johnson’s career

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