Former Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson has told a court he informed the Premier League that he had been "aroused" by kissing a 15-year-old girl, months before he was sacked by the club. Johnson said he told Sunderland's chief executive Margaret Byrne "everything from the start" following his arrest in March 2015.
Johnson was initially suspended by the club but was reinstated after 16 days. Johnson continued to play for Sunderland until he was recently sacked after admitting one count of sexual activity with a child and one count of grooming on 10 February 2016.
When asked how he felt playing for the club knowing he had "seriously wronged" a 15-year-old, Johnson replied: "It was hanging over me, but I had a job to do". He added: "I was just doing my job. I wanted to carry on doing my job. They knew from the start, everything I told them, so I didn't see it as a problem to go back and do what I was paid to do."
Prosecutor Kate Blackwell QC told Johnson: "Each week that you played for the football club and refused to admit you were guilty was another week perpetuating the excruciating pain for the girl."
Johnson scored in his final game for Sunderland during a 2-2 draw against Liverpool at Anfield on 6 February. After the match finished, Johnson threw his shirt into the crowd. When asked was this a symbolic gesture as he "knew the game was up" and would no longer play for the club again once he admitted two charges at the start of his trial, Johnson said: "I knew there was a possibility that could happen, yes."
Johnson denies two more serious allegations of engaging in sexual contact with a child.
The court also heard how Johnson admitted he gave the 15-year-old girl his phone number because he wanted a sexual relationship with her and lied to his girlfriend about how old he believed she was.
Johnson admitted he had "feelings" for the girl after seeing her outside Sunderland's Stadium of Light. The court previously heard how the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, "idolised" Johnson and would frequently wait for him after home games to "catch a glimpse" of the footballer.
When asked by his defence team if he gave the girl his phone number after conversing on social media because he wanted to have a sexual relationship with her, Johnson replied: "Yeah". Johnson said his desire for the girl started when he "first saw her at games. I got to know her and saw her more".
Johnson also told Bradford Crown Court he knew the girl was only 15 "pretty much as soon as we first started talking" but told his girlfriend Stacey Flounders she said she was 16 as he was being arrested at his home. Johnson said: "At that time the police came and I panicked. I wanted the chance to come home and explain to Stacey what happened. She could have just left and took my daughter away. I was just panicking."
Johnson said he instantly knew who the allegations of sexual activity were coming from as there as she was the "only girl that I knew I was talking to that was under the age of 16".
During police interviews, Johnson originally told police that he didn't have feelings for the girl, but later admitted in court this was a lie. When asked why he did not tell the truth, Johnson because his world had been "turned upside down" and was trying to "play it down". He added: "I didn't want the police seeing how bad it was. I was trying to play it down. I was embarrassed and panicking and it was all thrown on me very quickly."
Johnson added he continued to text the girl after kissing her as he wanted to "let her downgently" and was worried about what the girl would do if he stopped communicating with her.
He added: "I was worried she would tell her friend, that she would tell Stacey, she could contact her on Twitter and make things up, I was worried about that."
The trial continues.