Adam Johnson is reportedly preparing to hire protection in prison over fears for his safety inside.
The disgraced former England international footballer was found guilty of grooming and the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old fan and will be sentenced at Bradford Crown Court next week, reports the Daily Mirror.
Johnson is expected to serve the majority of his sentence at HMP Frankland, Durham, a prison with a notorious reputation for housing violent inmates.
In 2011, child rapist Mitchell Harrison was killed by two fellow inmates who disembowelled him with razor blades, having previously attempted to snap his neck.
Nathan Mann, 24, and Michael Parr, 33, later told officers they had intended to remove Harrison’s liver and eat it, but abandoned the plan in horror due to the injuries they’d already inflicted.
A friend of Johnson is reported by The Sun as saying:
He’s shitting himself. The only way to stay safe is to have a hardman by his side every minute he’s out of his cell. He’s been advised to put money aside.
It’s a hard place. He knows there will be Newcastle fans who want to have a go.
He’d have enough trouble if he was an ex-Sunderland player in for a motoring offence, or if he was a nobody convicted of child sex crimes. To be both is a nightmare.
Former Frankland prison officer Shaun Gettings has also warned Johnson of the dangers inside the prison.
He told the Mirror:
Johnson will be a high profile prisoner and the guards will have to be aware of him more.
With such well known inmates, it’s always possible other prisoners could try and do something, especially with the high media interest around the case.
But prison officers will know they are responsible for his safety and it is a safe environment. There are cameras everywhere and security is unbelievable.
As soon as he enters he will be assessed to see if he is a suicide risk. Frankland is a hard place.