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Adam Johnson used phone to check age of consent

Adam Johnson used phone to check age of consent

Adam Johnson has said he searched for the age of consent on the internet after a changing room discussion about laws in different countries.

The former Sunderland winger is on trial at Bradford Crown Court accused of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.

The court has heard that a Google search for "legal age of consent" was made on Johnson's phone four days after he met the girl in his car on January 30.

The footballer has admitted grooming and kissing the teenager but denies two counts of further sexual activity.

Johnson told the court he knew the age of consent when he asked the girl in December 2014 about when she turned 16. He said he asked the question during a conversation about drinking.

He said he searched the internet for the age of consent after a training session, but added: "It had nothing to do with (her).

"We were having a discussion in the dressing room about a programme that was on a couple of days ago about different ages and things like that.

"There are a lot of players in our team from all sorts of countries and we were having a discussion about laws and ages and things in different parts of the world."

Johnson went on to suggest that he enjoyed kissing a 15-year-old girl and accepted that he did consider sexual activity with the girl.

The jury heard that the 28-year-old former Sunderland winger had apologised to the girl in a statement to police and told the court that his actions were his fault and he agreed that the girl was "blameless".

The trial has heard that Johnson met the girl twice in his black Range Rover after exchanging telephone numbers and messaging each other over a number of weeks.

The footballer signed Sunderland shirts during the first meeting in January last year and has admitted kissing the teenager during the second meeting.

Messages between the pair discussed meeting for a second time so the girl could give Johnson a "thank you kiss" for the shirts.

They met in a car park on January 30 and Johnson said they initially talked about football.

He said: "And then the kiss happened."

Johnson, of Castle Eden, Co Durham, told the court he wanted to kiss the girl and enjoyed it.

He said he knew it was a "possibility" that he would be touching the girl sexually when they met in his car and said he wanted to do that but denies taking part in further sexual activity.

Orlando Pownall QC, defending, asked the footballer: "Did you digitally interfere with her or indulge in oral sex with her?"

Johnson answered: "No, I never."

When asked if he accepted that the girl was blameless, Johnson said: "Yes."

The jury of eight women and four men heard earlier that Johnson made a prepared statement to police in which he described his actions as "wholly unacceptable".

Reading the statement to the court, Daniel Thomas, junior prosecutor in the case, said: "I accept the stupidity of my actions."

Mr Thomas said Johnson went on to apologise to the girl and added: "She's a child and ought to have been safe in my company."

The court heard that, in the hours following the second meeting with the teenage girl, Johnson was sending messages to her while also messaging his girlfriend Stacey Flounders.

Johnson, who has a young daughter with Miss Flounders, told the jury that his relationship with his girlfriend was "not very good" because he was "not being a very good person to her".

But the footballer, who appeared to become emotional at times, told the court: "I love her just as much as I always have."

He added: "I wasn't a good person. I should never have done that. I can't think of the words to describe how I feel about it."

Johnson told the court he was attracted to the girl. He said he wished he had put a stop to the messages between them but got "caught up" in texting.

He described the messages as "flirty" and "inappropriate" and said he was "ashamed" about sending them.

When asked how he felt now, he said: "Embarrassed. Awful. I shouldn't have ever done it."

He added that the messages were his fault and that he "should have known better".

"That was stupidity from me and I really regret that," he told the court.