Former England footballer Adam Johnson ran into court today where he is expected to be jailed for engaging in sexual activity with a besotted 15-year-old fan.
Johnson has been warned he faces a "substantial prison sentence" after he was found guilty of one offence of sexual activity with a child by a jury earlier this month.
The 28-year-old ran into the entrance of Bradford Crown Court as a line of police officers guarded the front as reporters and photographers waited outside.
Victim 'bullied' on social media
In a statement, his victim says she has been "bullied".
"What happened a year ago has completely changed my life," she said. "Hopefully justice will be done and I can move on from this."
She was approached by strangers in the street and bombarded by abuse on social media.
The statement added that she had even "felt at risk" going out.
It said that because Johnson had protested his innocence she "felt very intimidated by it all and felt very lonely. I have entered many dark places over this 12-month period and at times wanted to just shut the whole world out".
Victim's mother: He was in a position of trust
Neither his victim or her family attended court.
In a statement read to the court, her mother said: "Through social media my daughter had thousands of malicious remarks and threats of violence towards her."
She said she stands by the decision to report it to the police to protect other young girls.
"Adam Johnson was in a position of trust with hundreds of other idolising young fans who could have been victims themselves," she added.
'He was all but twice her age'
Prosecutor Kate Blackwell QC said he had no previous convictions and prior to the current prosecution had been a "man of good character".
Miss Blackwell told the court that there was a "significant disparity" in age between the defendant and the victim.
She said: "At the time of the commission of these offences, (the victim) was one month after her 15th birthday and the defendant was 27. He was all but twice her age, 13 years older. The Crown say it amounts to a significant disparity of ages between the two."
She added: "The most apparent feature in the view of the Crown is the severe psychological harm that the defendant has caused to the victim."
Johnson appears in the dock
Johnson walked into court chewing gum and wearing a blue suit, white shirt and a blue tie.
He walked quickly into the dock, adjusting the top button on his shirt.
Members of his family sat on the front seat of the public gallery.
A security guard opens the gates as disgraced footballer Adam Johnson leaves his home in Castle Eden Photo: North News & Pictures
He sat in dock with one security guard.
In the dock, Johnson spoke to confirm his name.
Johnson launches appeal
Johnson’s lawyer Orlando Pownall confirmed before the sentencing the footballer has lodged an appeal against his conviction for sexual activity with a child involving penetration.
Footballer's sister and ex not in court
Earlier his sister said she would not be in court because "I just don't want him to see the pain in my eyes".
She said Johnson's former partner and the mother of his one-year-old daughter, Stacey Flounders, will also not be at the hearing.
In a Facebook post, Ms Johnson said: "Today is the sentencing for my brother, the worst day of my life.
"I just wanted to let all of the supporters know that I will not be attending Bradford Crown Court, the reason for this is Adam has always been my hero, my brother and my best friend, I just don't want him to see the pain in my eyes!
"Instead I will be at home with my little boy, Adam's number 1 fan, Adam's daughter and the mother of his child Stacey.
"I remain proud of my big brother and I am 100 per cent behind him and I always will be."
Police officers form a cordon ahead of the arrival of former England footballer Adam Johnson at Bradford Crown Court Photo: PA
The player had already admitted another count of the same offence and also grooming the girl, who idolised him.
Judge Jonathan Rose made the jail warning after granting Johnson bail, telling him: "You can say goodbye to your daughter. A prison sentence will mean you will not see her for some time."
Judge Rose told the player - who earned £60,000 a week with Sunderland - his preliminary view was that the case falls into the category of a five-year prison sentence with a possible range of four to 10 years.
All the charges relate to an incident in Johnson's Range Rover when he met up with the girl in County Durham on January 30 last year.
The jury heard how Johnson began exchanging hundreds of messages with the girl on social media at New Year 2015. He eventually agreed to meet her to sign football shirts.
But it was when they met for a second time that he asked for his "thank you kiss".
Johnson admitted kissing the girl but denied any further sexual activity. The girl told the jury how the player digitally penetrated her after putting his hands down her pants and that she then gave him oral sex.
The jury cleared Johnson of the count relating to oral sex but found him guilty on a majority of 10-2 on the count relating to the digital penetration.
After he was found guilty, his teenage victim said she felt "so broken". She said she had endured a year of being called a liar as Johnson continued to proclaim his innocence.
The player made his guilty pleas just before his trial began in February.
After the trial ended, a row erupted over just how much Sunderland AFC knew about what its player had done when it let him play on before finally sacking him earlier this year after his guilty pleas.
The club later said it was "so very sorry" for letting down its 15-year-old fan after chief executive Margaret Byrne resigned.
Ms Byrne admitted "a serious error of judgment" in advising the board that the star winger could carry on playing after he was initially suspended last March.
Johnson, a £10 million signing, helped the Wearside team to narrowly avoid relegation from the Premier League last year.
The player - who was capped 12 times for England - has a one-year-old daughter with Ms Flounders, who supported him during the court case but who told the jury they were now just friends.
Former England footballer Adam Johnson arrives at Bradford Crown Court Photo: PA
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