In my view that offence is also a Category A offence in terms of culpability. I identify the following factors as being present: There was undoubtedly significant planning involved, in the communications and in the arrangement of meetings.
There is an abuse of trust, inasmuch as those who enjoy positions of what today is known as 'celebrity' are trusted by their fans and the family of fans to act in an entirely appropriate manner towards, in particular, young people who are less able to protect themselves.
You solicited sexual images of [the victim], albeit that you did not receive any naked photographs of her.
There was a significant disparity in age; [she] was 15 and you 27 at the time.
I identify the following aggravating factors: the location and timing of the offence – the dark and secluded location and the efforts to dispose of or conceal evidence.
You made to have [the victim] dispose of the WhatsApp messages and you yourself deleted over 800 messages.
You required the subsequent change to using Snapchat messages because they would automatically delete.
You repeatedly directed [the victim] that she should tell no one what was happening as between you.
A further aggravating factor in such cases is where there is severe psychological harm...
I have read with care the reports to which I have already referred and listed with care to Dr Hopley.
It seems to me they speak of a person with a gift for football who enjoyed success from an early age, yet whose immaturity both physical and mental caused difficulties and may in part explain why, notably when you had moved to play for Manchester City you embarked on an extensive social life which involved sexual activity on a very frequent basis with a number of different partners, even when you were ostensibly in a settled relationship.
You made a deliberate decision to engage in sexual activity with this young girl, no doubt in the expectation that you would get away with it.
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.
Accordingly, the total sentence is one of 6 years' imprisonment... The sentence you must serve will doubtless contribute to deterring you from future offending.