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'In giving Johnson his job back, the club gave his victim a year of hell. - It allowed the total vilification of her on social media. ' 'In giving Johnson his job back, the club gave his victim a year of hell. - It allowed the total vilification of her on social media. '.

Byline: Sonia Sharma Reporter

ADAM Johnson will face hostility and violence from his fellow inmates if he is locked up, a former prisoner warned today.

The footballer has been told to expect a substantial jail term when he is sentenced for his sex crimes.

But what would life really be like for a superstar footballer jailed for sexual activity with a 15-year-old? The Chronicle spoke to one ex inmate of HMP Durham who described what the 28-year-old former SAFC player can expect on arrival at jail.

"He'll probably come into the reception area with a few others," said the 25-year-old, who was jailed for drug and assault charges.

"Then he'll be put in one of three rooms and asked how he's feeling. If he says "suicidal" a nurse will be called to speak to him.

"He'll then be moved on to the induction wing. At Durham that's F Wing. How long he stays there depends on a few things but he'll eventually be asked if he want to move into the mainstream of the prison or, because of his crime, into the vulnerable wing, which at Durham is C Wing.

"Chances are he'll pick the vulnerable wing. He's not going to want to go into the main prison because he'll get attacked. Nonces are the scum of the earth in prison. It's the worst crime you can commit and there's no sympathy for them. Add to that he's a high-profile footballer and life could be made very difficult.

"One way of getting by is to lie about your crime and make a false one up, but I guess Johnson won't be able to do that because everyone already knows who he is."

But the ex con, who asked not to be named, says even on a vulnerable wing, Johnson could face the threat of violence. He added: "It's not just nonces in there, so there's no place to hide.

"He could probably pay someone to look after him, that's one way of doing it. But getting someone to take care of you costs. Him being a footballer will make no difference whatsoever, in fact, it will only just add to it."

The former con said it's likely Johnson will be offered work during his sentence, anything from a plastering course to taking an art course.

"If he is segregated and manages to keep out of the way, he could be OK and get through things relatively easily but he's got it all stacked against him because he's so high-profile."

Lord Brian Mackenzie, from Durham, is a legal expert who played a critical role in the instigation of the idea of the Sex Offenders' Register. He said: "It's not going to be easy for Johnson. He's a footballer who has been convicted for sex offences involving children.

"The fact is his fellow prisoners won't be looking at the details, they just know he's a famous footballer who is now in jail for crimes against kids.

"His profile means he's likely to be in for a very difficult time as fellow prisoners do not take a liking to what they call nonces."

Nonces or "bacons", as paedophiles are often referred to in jail, are often shunned by their fellow inmates and high profile convicts have been harassed. Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris was reportedly moved to another prison after being bullied by inmates.

The 85-year-old was moved following a number of reported incidents where he was targeted by fellow prisoners.

Harris was jailed in July 2014 for five years and nine months after being found guilty of a dozen indecent assaults against four young girls.

| A former inmate at HM Prison, Durham told how life inside could go PRESSURE is mounting on Sunderland AFC over their handling of disgraced star Adam Johnson.

The club is facing questions over its decision to allow the former England star to play for the team following his arrest over child sex offences last year.

O n Wednesday, Johnson was found guilty of sexual activity with a child. He had already admitted kissing the 15-year-old and one count of grooming her over social media.

He was found not guilty of another count of engaging in sexual activity with her. Now Sunderland AFC bosses are being asked to explain exactly when they became aware of their former player's crimes.

A statement from the club said it had not been told in advance that Johnson would admit any offence, and said the 28-year-old would have been sacked immediately had club officials known he intended to plead guilty to two child sex offences.

But during the trial the jury was told that, by May 4, when chief executive Margaret Byrne met Johnson and his barrister Orlando Pownall QC, the club had all 834 WhatsApp messages exchanged between the footballer and the teenage girl and transcripts of police interviews with Johnson and the girl.

The club has also been criticised for allowing the now-shamed footballer to carry on playing with the team until his trial.

Week after week Johnson ran out on the pitch in front of thousands of fans while his schoolgirl victim was called a "liar", a "slag" and a "silly little girl".

The 15-year-old season ticket holder was left too afraid to go to football matches, fearing she would be recognised on the terraces by fans who regularly chanted their support of the player.

For almost a year, Johnson publicly denied his guilt.

Now Clare Phillipson, director of charity Wearside Women in Need, has said allowing Johnson to continue playing sent out an "absolutely dreadful" message as it led people to think he was probably innocent.

She added: "Sunderland AFC have questions to answer. I don't think the statement from the club answers all of the questions that we need answering.

"We need to know at what point the club were made aware that Johnson had contact with this child in his car and that he was exchanging messages with her.

"That's the question I want answering. That will tell us what their decision making process was.

"The question is not about whether he was going to plead guilty or not guilty - it is about when they knew Johnson had met with this child. Did they find out just before the court case or much earlier? "They first suspended him and then reinstated him. In reinstating Johnson, the club gave the victim a year of hell. It allowed the total vilification of her on social media. A lot of harm was done to her in the year that Johnson continued to play for them.

"All football clubs, not just Sunderland, have the responsibility to protect their child fans. And we need to look at what Sunderland AFC did.

"There should be an inquiry into this matter and it should be held by the Local Safeguarding Board, which is responsible for child protection. They should investigate the sequence of events and publish a report about what happened and whether any lessons can be learned from that and be disseminated more widely across other football clubs."

Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central, also says the club needs to answer vital questions.

She added: "Clearly, having listened to the victim's statement, our focus should be on supporting her to rebuild her life after a horrific year.

"What is also clear however is that there are questions to be answered. I am concerned about what safeguards were put in place, in light of what has come out of the trial. These questions should be put to the club."

The NSPCC says the ex-Sunderland midfielder should have been suspended by his employers throughout the police investigation if the club knew he had kissed a 15-year-old girl.

A spokesman for the children's charity said: "If they had known he had kissed a girl prior to his guilty plea, then we think they should have suspended him pending the ongoing investigation.

"It would have sent the right message to people that this is a serious offence and needed to be properly investigated."

In their statement, Sunderland AFC said they had not known about Johnson's intention to change his plea before trial and refuted these suggestions "in the strongest possible terms".

They added: "The club never placed any pressure or demands on Mr Johnson to play football during this process. Decisions in relation to the pleas and the conduct of the trial have been left entirely to Mr Johnson and his highly experienced and skilled legal team.

"Mr Johnson has admitted in evidence that he changed his plea "on legal advice".

The club only became aware of the change of plea, in relation to two of the four counts on the indictment, on the first day of the trial, after hearing it reported through the media."


| Adam Johnson leaving Bradford Crown Court a limo on Wednesday

| Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central

| Adam Johnson outside court after being found guilty of child sex offences
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 4, 2016
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