Wednesday, 2 March 2016

A judge told the disgraced former Sunderland and England footballer that a prison sentence was "almost inevitable".
16:52, UK,Wednesday 02 March 2016
Adam Johnson
Footballer Adam Johnson could face a "significant" jail term after being found guilty of one charge of sexual activity with a child.
Earlier in the day, the former Sunderland winger was cleared of another similar charge.
Before his trial started last month, Johnson had admitted grooming a 15-year-old girl and sexual activity with the teenager, relating to kissing her in his car.
However the ex-England footballer, who has now been released on bail, had denied the two more serious charges of sexual activity with a child.
Johnson sat in the dock with his hands on his knees after the guilty verdict was announced.
Adam Johnson
A jury convicted him 10-2 after Judge Jonathan Rose said he would accept a majority verdict.
The judge said a custodial sentence was "the almost inevitable outcome".
He said: "The defendant must understand there is a very high probability of a significant custodial sentence."
But he granted Johnson bail until a hearing which will be held at a later date.
The footballer looked at the jury with no expression as they left the court.
The 28-year-old exchanged hundreds of social media messages with the girl which he encouraged her to delete, Bradford Crown Court heard.
Johnson met her in his Range Rover in County Durham on January 30 last year and he admitted he kissed her in the vehicle.
But the girl told a jury that the encounter went much further.
In a statement read by police outside court, she said she felt “used and let down” by the footballer, describing the last 12 months as the “hardest year of my life”.
She added: “I have had to face so much abuse after he claimed his innocence and I was made out to be a liar.
“What happened in his car has turned my life upside down, I have lost all of my confidence, and my schoolwork has suffered.”
Sunderland FC said it "refuted" any suggestion the club knew all along that Johnson was intending to change his plea just before his trial so he could continue to play for them.
And it also "refused" any suggestion that the club may have been involved in tactical discussions about the plea.