The father of disgraced former footballer Adam Johnson said it was good to have him home after the ex-England player was released from prison after serving three years for child sex offences.
The ex-Sunderland and Manchester City winger was sentenced to six years for engaging in sexual activity with a besotted 15-year-old fan in 2016.
He was released from HMP Moorland, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in the early hours of Friday and was driven in a people carrier with blacked-out rear windows by his father to his mansion in Castle Eden, County Durham.
At the gated property, Dave Johnson briefly spoke to reporters and agreed it was good to have his son home.
He said the player may make a statement later and then asked reporters to leave.
He was seen minutes later driving off in the people carrier, out of the private lane and past waiting photographers.
Friday’s release came exactly halfway through Johnson’s six-year sentence.
He had admitted kissing the girl but denied her claim that he touched her inside her pants and that she then performed oral sex on him.
A jury found him guilty of sexual activity with a child in relation to “digital penetration” but cleared him of the same offence relating to the oral sex.
He had already admitted another charge of sexual activity with a child in relation to kissing and also of grooming the girl.
The judge said Johnson had lied repeatedly, referring to the controversy over whether he delayed his guilty pleas to enable him to continue his £60,000-a-week career with Sunderland.
As a sex offender, Johnson will have to register his address and bank details with police and inform officers of any intention to travel abroad.
The children’s services department from the local council may also carry out risk assessments in relation to Johnson’s daughter Ayla, and could prevent him spending time alone with her.