Footballer Adam Johnson has been sentenced to six years in prison for engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan.

The former England international showed no emotion as he was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court, and sat with his head bowed after the judge finished speaking.

As he was led to the cells, Johnson refused to look at his family.

The 28-year-old, who played for Premier League clubs Sunderland and Manchester City, was found guilty of sexual activity with the teenager following an incident in his Range Rover in County Durham in 2015 in which he kissed and sexually touched her.

Johnson, who intends to appeal, also admitted another charge of sexual activity with a child and grooming the girl.

The winger, who was told his victim has suffered “severe psychological harm”, stood with his hands behind his back as Judge Jonathan Rose passed sentence.

The judge said Johnson had taken advantage of a “young teenager’s adoration of a successful celebrity”.

The judge said the girl had been a Sunderland fan who would wait after matches to take pictures of her “favourite player”.

He added it had been Johnson’s intention to engage in sexual activity with the girl, knowing she was under 16.

He told the court the winger had exchanged more than 800 messages with her, which had largely been innocent.

But Judge Rose added: “You continued in your grooming of this girl even after you were engaged in sexual activity with her.

“You wanted no one to know that you and she were exchanging messages.

“You asked her to find a place to meet that was private and secluded so no one would see you in her company.”

The judge said Johnson had made a “deliberate decision” to engage in sexual activity with the girl, “no doubt with the expectation that you would get away with it”.

The footballer’s initial decision not to plead guilty meant the victim was subjected to a year of being called a liar, including by fans at matches, the court heard.

Judge Rose said: “She speaks of entering many dark places in that year and said she had suffered bullying and stress and had underachieved at school as a result of the case.”

She had suffered sadness, anger and confusion which had been “exasperated” because of Johnson’s status and standing, he added.

Johnson has been stripped of 12 England caps and has had to sign the sex offenders register in light of his conviction.

A restraining order banning him from contacting the victim has also been imposed.

Detective Inspector Aelfwynn Sampson, of Durham Constabulary, said the “carefully considered and significant sentence” sent out a “clear message”.

She said: “This case demonstrates that victims of these crimes will be taken seriously and perpetrators will be dealt with robustly.”

An NSPCC spokesperson said Johnson’s “horrifying and inexcusable” conduct was exacerbated by his not guilty plea “which forced his victim to suffer the harrowing experience of giving evidence”.

“But this was not only about one rogue player,” they said.

“It was also about a club that seemingly did not have child protection priorities embedded in its culture.

“It was worrying that child safeguarding took second place to getting results on the pitch.

“That can never be allowed to happen again at any club.”