Former Sunderland and England footballer Adam Johnson has told a court his world was “turned upside down” when he was arrested for sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.
Johnson said he “panicked” and was “in turmoil” during his police interview after his arrest in March last year.
The 28-year-old former Sunderland winger told Bradford Crown Court he admitted kissing the girl in his car but said he tried to “play it down”.
The court has heard the pair exchanged telephone numbers and messages for a number of weeks before meeting in January last year for Johnson to sign a Sunderland shirt for the girl.
Johnson had described how the WhatsApp messages became “flirty” and “inappropriate” before a second meeting on January 30.
Johnson has admitted grooming and passionately kissing the girl in his black Range Rover but denies two counts of further sexual activity.
The footballer was arrested at the home he shares with his girlfriend Stacey Flounders in Castle Eden, Co Durham.
He admitted that he did not always answer some police questions entirely truthfully. He said: “My world had got turned upside down and I was trying to play it down as much as I could.”
When asked by Orlando Pownall QC, defending, about what state he was in during his first interview, Johnson said: “I was panicking. I had all these thoughts going through my mind about everything. To name a couple, my career, my family, I was in turmoil.”
Johnson said he was “surprised” that the teenage girl had told police that further sexual activity had taken place.
He said: “I couldn’t believe the things she was saying to police. I felt like someone else was telling her to say these things.” He told the court that he did not try to feel her breasts or put his hands underneath her t-shirt.
He also denied engaging in oral sex, digital penetration or putting her hand on his penis.