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Adam Johnson found guilty of one child sex charge, not guilty of the other

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Former Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson has been found guilty of one charge of sexual activity with a child, having earlier been cleared of a similar count at Bradford Crown Court on Wednesday.

Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a child and one of grooming at Bradford Crown Court on the opening day of his trial on February 10, denying two further charges of sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16.

Judge Jonathan Rose asked the jury to reach a unanimous verdict on the remaining charges and Johnson was found not guilty of one of the two, relating to the then 15-year-old performing a sex act on him.

The jury were then sent back out to continue deliberating the remaining charge under majority direction, meaning Judge Rose would accept a majority verdict, and Johnson was eventually found guilty.

Jurors returned a majority verdict of 10-2 before Johnson was bailed for sentencing in two to three weeks, with a custodial sentence likely.

Sunderland terminated Johnson’s contract following his initial guilty pleas, while boot manufacturer Adidas also cut ties with the winger – capped 12 times by England at international level.

The Premier League club had suspended Johnson following his arrest and subsequent bail last March, but cleared him to return to first-team duties when his bail was extended by Durham Police.

He scored twice in 19 league appearances for Sunderland this season.

Following the verdict, a statement from Sunderland said suggestions that the club knew Johnson intended to enter guilty pleas at the start of the trial were “utterly without foundation and refuted in the strongest possible terms”.

The statement read: “The club only became aware of the change of plea, in relation to two of the four counts on the indictment, on the first day of the trial, after hearing it reported through the media. The club was not advised in advance that Mr. Johnson would plead guilty to any offence.

“Had the club known that Mr. Johnson intended to plead guilty to any of these charges, then his employment would have been terminated immediately. Indeed, upon learning of the guilty plea on 11 February 2016, the club acted quickly and decisively in terminating Adam Johnson’s contract without notice.”

A statement released by the victim said Johnson had been her “hero” and that she felt “used and let down by him” after an ordeal that had “turned my life upside down”.

The statement concluded: “I hope Adam realises the hurt and damage he has caused. I now want to put this awful experience behind me and begin to rebuild my life. I hope I can move on from this and look to the future.”

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