Adam Johnson trial: Friend ‘didn’t believe’ girl at first ‘because he’s famous and she’s only 15’

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England footballer Adam Johnson, 28, leaves Bradford Crown Court, Bradford, where he has pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl on the first day of his trial. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday February 10, 2016. Johnson admitted one count of sexual activity with a girl under 16 and a further count of grooming after being arraigned on the charges, but continues to deny two further counts of sexual activity with a child. See PA story COURTS Johnson. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

A friend of the girl at the centre of the Adam Johnson trial told a court that she ‘didn’t believe’ the teenager had a sexual encounter with the former Sunderland player ‘because he’s famous and she’s only 15.’

In a video-recorded police interview shown to Bradford Crown Court, the friend described how she was with the teenager, who was 15 at the time, before she went to meet Johnson. After the encounter, the friend said the girl was ‘not excited for something, just excited – in a good mood, really.’

She also told the court she didn’t believe the girl’s account because ‘he’s like a footballer and he’s famous and she’s only 15.’

Johnson exchanged messages with the teenager ‘near enough every day’, the friend said.

The court had heard previously that the pair exchanged 834 messages on Whatsapp.

The friend added that it ‘didn’t really seem right that a 27-year-old’ would ask for ‘more than a kiss’.

The court heard last week how the 15-year-old girl at the centre of case initiated contact with Johnson on Facebook, and the pair later agreed to meet so he could sign her Sunderland football shirt.

They met some time later in his Range Rover after he told her: ‘You owe me for this’ and ‘Am I going to get a thank you kiss?’.

It was revealed that the teenager, who is now 16, felt ‘compelled’ to perform oral sex on the man she described as her ‘idol’.

Yesterday, she told the court that she decided she would no longer protect the former Premier League winger when he made her out to be a liar.

She said, via video link and with tears in her eyes, that Johnson ‘did nothing to protect me.’

She explained that she did not mention some of the more serious allegations made against Johnson at first because she was trying to protect him.

Johnson, of Castle Eden, Co Durham, admitted to one charge of sexual activity with a child in relation to the incident in the Range Rover and one charge of grooming the girl.

He denies, however, two further counts of sexual activity with a child relating to the same incident.

Prosecutors describe these counts as ‘more serious’.