Former England footballer Adam Johnson has been told there is a “very high probability” he will be jailed for a “significant” length of time after being convicted of one count of sexual activity with a child.
Jurors at Bradford Crown Court found the former Sunderland FC winger guilty by a majority of 10-2 after Judge Jonathan Rose said he would accept a majority verdict.
The disgraced star was cleared by the jury on a second count - oral sex with a child - after the trial, which last more than two weeks.
Johnson, 28, admitted grooming a 15-year-old girl and sexual activity with the teenager, relating to kissing her in his Range Rover, but denied the two more serious charges of sexual activity with a child - one involving oral sex and another involving digital penetration. He was found guilty of the latter charge.
The charges against him arose from a meeting between Johnson and the girl in his car in County Durham on January 30 last year.
Judge Rose said a custodial sentence is “the almost inevitable outcome” but granted Johnson bail until the hearing, which will be held at a later date.
There was no obvious reaction to the verdict from Johnson, who was sitting in the dock with two security guards.
The judge said his preliminary view was that the case falls into the category of a five year prison sentence with a range of four to 10 years.
He said: “The defendant must understand there is a very high probability of a significant custodial sentence.”
Just before he left the dock, Judge Rose told Johnson that being released on bail meant he could get his “affairs in order”.
He said: “You can say goodbye to your daughter. A prison sentence will mean you will not see her for some time.”
Explaining his bail conditions, the judge said Johnson would be “well advised to stay well away from social media”.
In a statement issued after the case, 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 that the club may have been involved in tactical discussions about the plea.
The club said it was not advised in advance that Johnson would plead guilty to any offence.
“Had the club known that Mr Johnson intended to plead guilty to any of these charges, then his employment would have been terminated immediately,” the statement said.
“Indeed, upon learning of the guilty plea on 11 February 2016, the club acted quickly and decisively in terminating Adam Johnson’s contract without notice.
“The club did not give evidence either for the prosecution or the defence in this case.
“It was therefore not present in court when it is understood that a suggestion was made that the club knew all along that Mr Johnson was intending to change his plea just before trial to enable him to continue to play football for the club and that the club may also have been involved in tactical discussions about the plea.
“This is utterly without foundation and is refuted in the strongest possible terms.
“The club never placed any pressure or demands on Mr Johnson to play football during this process.”
Johnson was portrayed in court as the epitome of the top-flight footballer stereotype - arrogant, spoilt and philandering.
His own QC told jurors they may well agree with the prosecution’s portrayal of his client as “immature, arrogant, promiscuous” and that “the only time he had to fend for himself was on the football field cheered on by thousands of adoring fans”.
Talk of his £60,000-a-week wage packet, luxury cars with personalised plates and his £1.8 million, six-bedroom mansion only added to this image.
But it was the “promiscuous” part of this characterisation which led to Johnson’s downfall.
Stacey Flounders - until recently Johnson’s partner and the mother-of-his one-year-old daughter, Ayla - talked about the “other women” when she gave evidence in the trial.
Miss Flounders, 26, explained to the jury how the player had confessed to cheating on her after he was arrested.
She said he would not tell her how many women there had been, but he said it was “quite a few”. And she said she suspected he was unfaithful during her pregnancy.
Johnson admitted his cheating, telling the jury how his relationship was in bad state in January last year because he had been messaging other women.
Kate Blackwell QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “He cheated on his girlfriend and lied and manipulated her in a way which demonstrates his exceptional duplicity.”
Miss Flounders appeared to be standing by her man, accompanying him to court for most of the trial.
But, when she took to the witness box, she told the court they were “just going to remain friends” and Johnson’s barrister said the relationship was “up in the air”.
Johnson was already an England international when he met Miss Flounders in 2011.
She said they were introduced by her cousin and moved into Johnson’s home in Castle Eden, County Durham, in 2013 - a nearly new mansion he bought not far from where he grew up.
Born in Sunderland in July 1987, Johnson was brought up in the nearby pit village of Easington.
His talent on the pitch was spotted at an early age.
Father Dave and mother Sonia supported his development, which saw him shine for Peterlee Boys - who won through a national tournament to play at Wembley in 1998.
Middlesbrough took him into their famed academy at the age of 12 and nurtured him, despite his small size.
Boro’s youth set-up produced a string of successful players, including future England international Stewart Downing.
However, the word on Teesside that there was an even better prospect following in Downing’s footsteps, and that youngster was Johnson.
Current Academy manager Dave Parnaby never had any doubts about his ability.
Parnaby said: “Adam was one of the first players I saw here when I walked through the gates in 1998. I saw this little dot playing on the wing and the first thing I noticed was this ability to dribble and the mentality to want to dribble.”
Johnson made his senior debut as a 17-year-old substitute in Boro’s 1-0 Uef Cup defeat by Sporting Lisbon in Portugal on March 17, 2005 and went on to represent the club on 120 occasions either side of loan spells at Leeds and Watford - before winning a £7 million move to Manchester City in February 2010.
Johnson won both the league title and the FA Cup, as well as the first of his 12 England caps, during a two-and-a-half-year stay at the Etihad Stadium.
But then manager Roberto Mancini grew increasingly frustrated with his inconsistency and attitude as the 2011-12 season drew to a close and his days at the club were numbered.
But he was coveted on his native Wearside and Sunderland owner Ellis Short gave then manager Martin O’Neill exactly what he wanted when he sanctioned a £10 million swoop in August 2012.
Johnson took his time to settle into life at the Stadium of Light but, having found his feet, worked his way back into the England squad only for injuries and further inconsistency to cost him his chance to add significantly to his tally of caps.
In all, he made 141 appearances for the club, the last 28 of them following his reinstatement from a suspension imposed after his arrest at his Castle Eden home.