The former girlfriend of disgraced footballer Adam Johnson has said she does not regard him as a paedophile.
Stacey Flounders, 29, also claimed she thought his six-year jail sentence for sexually touching a 15-year-old girl was ‘extreme.’
Speaking for the first time about her ordeal, she said: ‘What he did was wrong. In the eyes of the law she was a child and he should have known better. Even so, the sentence was a shock. I thought it was extreme.’
Stacey Flounders, 29, does not consider her ex-boyfriend Adam Johnson a paedophile
Former England star Johnson, 31, is due to be released later this month after serving half his sentence.
Miss Flounders said she and Johnson would tell their daughter Ayla, now aged four, the truth about his offending when she is 13.
She added: ‘She’ll have to make her own mind up about her father. To be honest, I don’t see Adam as a paedophile. For me a paedophile is somebody who abuses tiny young children.
‘I think that he was a sex addict – he told me he was a sex addict.
‘But I do worry about Ayla for the future. She is the one who will have to cope with bullying and cruel remarks from other kids – and their parents.’
Johnson’s glittering career ended three years ago when he was sacked by his club – Sunderland – after pleading guilty at the start of his 2016 trial to sexual grooming and kissing the girl. He was later convicted of sexually touching her in his car.
Miss Flounders revealed she became pregnant with their second child in the run-up to the court case and decided to have a termination.
‘I couldn’t bring another baby into this world with everything that was going on,’ she told the Mail on Sunday. ‘It was heartbreaking but I felt I had no choice.’
She and Ayla now live in a five-bedroom house in the North East which Johnson bought for his daughter. He also pays maintenance.
The couple split up during Johnson’s trial. They have a four-year-old daughter, Ayla, together
Miss Flounders, who runs an events business, would take Ayla to see her father in Moorland Prison, Doncaster – describing it to the child as his ‘work’.
She said she will stay friends with Johnson when he is released, but they won’t get back together.
‘I am looking forward to Ayla getting her dad back and I will be friends with him for her sake, but I am nervous about it as well,’ she added.
‘I was so in love with him before. Now I feel like I don’t know him – like he’s been dead for three years.
‘If I didn’t have Ayla I would say that I regret ever meeting Adam. He’s ruined my life, but I don’t want to call him a monster because my little girl will read this one day. I know he adores Ayla, and will come out and be a good dad.
‘I won’t take him back. He deserved to go to prison because he did something wrong. He needed to change from being an arrogant cheat, and I hope he has for Ayla’s sake.’
Miss Flounders recalled the moment Johnson was arrested by police. She said he went ‘white with fear’ and initially claimed he thought the girl was 16.
He then said the 15-year-old was a fan, insisting: ‘I have only given her a shirt.’ But it later emerged he knew she was under-age, had groomed her with hundreds of messages on WhatsApp and had cheated with many other women.
When the full truth came out during the trial at Bradford Crown Court, Miss Flounders was devastated.
She ended the relationship that night. Incredibly, she agreed to take the witness stand later in the trial – ‘for the sake of the truth’ – and the footballer was cleared of a more serious underage sexual offence. But the young mother faced online attacks, even being branded a paedophile herself.