Tees

Adam Johnson: Ex-Sunderland and England star released from jail

Adam Johnson Image copyright PA
Image caption Adam Johnson was jailed for six years in 2016

The father of former England footballer Adam Johnson said it was good to have his son home after his release from prison.

The former Middlesbrough, Manchester City and Sunderland star was jailed for six years in 2016 for engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan.

Johnson's father Dave spoke to reporters outside his 31-year-old son's house in Castle Eden, County Durham.

The Ministry of Justice said it did not comment on prisoner releases.

Image copyright Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Image caption Johnson had been serving his sentence at HMP Moorland near Doncaster

Witnesses said Johnson's father was seen leaving HMP Moorland near Doncaster in the early hours.

The car was later seen arriving at the former player's mansion near Hartlepool.

Mr Johnson said his son might make a statement later and asked reporters to leave the home's gated entrance.

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Johnson, who played for England 12 times, was released part way through his jail term.

Christopher Stacey, the co-director of Unlock, a charity for people with convictions, said Johnson should be allowed to resume his playing career.

He told Press Association Sport: "People leave prison every day and face difficulties with getting work. It's especially difficult for people convicted of sexual offences.

"The media fascination with Adam Johnson says less about him and his crime and more about us as a society. Do we want people to be punished forever?"

The FA said "appropriate safeguarding restrictions have been put in place" regarding Johnson.

Kissing plea

On the first day of his trial, the winger pleaded guilty to grooming the girl and one charge of sexual activity, relating to kissing her.

Sunderland terminated his £60,000-a-week contract immediately following his admission of guilt.

Jurors found him guilty of sexual touching but cleared him of one charge relating to another sexual act.

As a sex offender, Johnson will have to register his address and bank details with police and inform officers of any intention to travel abroad.

Image copyright Durham Police
Image caption The crime took place in Johnson's Range Rover

His trial at Bradford Crown Court heard Johnson began communicating with the girl at the end of 2014 while his partner, Stacey Flounders, was heavily pregnant with their first child.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was a Sunderland season ticket holder and was "infatuated" with Johnson.

Johnson told the jury that when she sent him a friend request on Facebook he recognised her as a Sunderland fan.

They exchanged hundreds of messages on various apps before Johnson met up with the girl in his Range Rover on 30 January 2015 after agreeing to sign football shirts for her.

It was in the car that the kissing and touching took place.

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