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  1. ITV Report

Disgraced ex-Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson released from prison

  • Watch Gregg Easteal's full report (WARNING: includes flash photography)

The father of disgraced ex-Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson says it's 'good to have him home' following his release from prison in the early hours of this morning.

The 31-year-old was sentenced to six years in March 2016 for grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl. He will have served around half of his sentence and will be on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Johnson's father was seen driving a black Mercedes people carrier with blacked-out windows out of Moorland Prison in Doncaster at midnight, escorted by a police van. He arrived home in County Durham 94 minutes later at 1.34am.

  • VIDEO: Dave Johnson arrives at his son's home in Castle Eden shortly after 1am this morning
Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Johnson, who was capped 12 times and scored twice for England, has been held at HMP Moorland near Doncaster after causing his victim "severe psychological harm".

His trial at Bradford Crown Court heard how he kissed and sexually touched the girl in his Range Rover, in a secluded spot in County Durham, on January 30 2015.

Adam Johnson Credit: PA

Judge Jonathan Rose said Johnson's offending happened when he met the girl for a second time after exchanging hundreds of social media messages with her.

The first time they met he gave her a signed football shirt and, when they met again, he asked for his "thank you kiss".

Johnson admitted kissing the girl but denied other claims.

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

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

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 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.

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, and could prevent him from spending time alone with her.

  • 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