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  1. ITV Report

Paedophile ex-footballer Adam Johnson freed from jail

Adam Johnson has been released from prison halfway through a six-year sentence for child sex offences. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

Paedophile former footballer Adam Johnson has been freed from prison after serving three years behind bars.

The disgraced ex-England international is believed to have been collected from HMP Moorland, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in the early hours of Friday by his father, Dave Johnson.

Mr Johnson Sr was seen driving a Mercedes people carrier with blacked-out rear windows out of the prison.

Dave Johnson later spoke briefly to reporters outside his son's mansion in Castle Eden, County Durham, and agreed it was good to have his son home.

He said the ex-Sunderland and Manchester City star may make a statement later.

  • VIDEO: Adam Johnson's father, Dave, arrives at his son's home in Co Durham shortly after 1am

Adam Johnson, now aged 31, was sentenced to six years for engaging in sexual activity with a besotted 15-year-old fan in 2016.

Friday's release came exactly halfway through his sentence.

Adam Johnson is back at his home in County Durham. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

He had admitted kissing the girl but denied her claim that he touched her intimately and that she then performed a sex act on him.

A jury found him guilty of sexual activity with a child.

Adam Johnson's police custody photograph. Credit: Durham Police/PA

He had already admitted another charge of sexual activity with a child in relation to kissing and also of grooming the girl.

The judge said Johnson, who was capped 12 times and scored twice for England, had lied repeatedly, referring to the controversy over whether he delayed his guilty pleas to enable him to continue his £60,000-a-week career with Sunderland.

Football 'super agent' John Smith said that while Johnson's career here may well be over, he could forge a new one overseas - but only after showing remorse and a "period of rehabilitation".

  • VIDEO: Could Adam Johnson play football professionally again in this country?

And legal commentator QC Joshua Rozenberg said the reputational damage to any club who took on the player after his conviction for child sex offences would be 'significant'.

  • "You'd think a professional club would think twice before employing Adam Johnson"

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.

The children’s services department from the local council may also carry out risk assessments in relation to Johnson’s daughter Ayla, and could prevent him spending time alone with her.

Adam Johnson used to play for Sunderland AFC. Credit: Richard Sellers/PA
  • The NSPCC has released this statement:

Johnson bombarded his victim with crude, sexual messages and a gaping loophole meant it was legal for him to do so. He used his explicit messages to groom her, then he went on to meet and sexually assault her.

“After the NSPCC campaigned for Government to fix this dangerous flaw, ministers finally made online grooming illegal in 2017 and now any adult who sends a child sexual messages will feel the full force of the law.

“More than 5,000 grooming crimes have since been recorded by police in England and Wales. Now people like Johnson can no longer get away with sending school children sexual messages.”

– NSPCC HEAD OF POLICY ALMUDENA LARA