Jurors in Paul Gascoigne sexual assault trial shown pictures of Gazza kisses

Jurors in the Paul Gascoigne sexual assault trial have been handed a file of photos of him kissing and being kissed by famous footballers, fans and even by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 2:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 3:55 pm
Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne arrives at Teesside Crown Court in Middlesbrough where he is appearing on charges of sexually assaulting a woman on a train. Photo credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The former England football star momentarily wept in the witness box at Teesside Crown Court as he denied any sexual intent when he kissed a female passenger on a York to Newcastle train last August.

The 52-year-old told the court he was asked for a selfie which the complainant took of him with two other women, and claimed someone shouted: "You don't want a photo with her, she's fat and ugly".

Asked by his defence barrister Michelle Heeley QC how that made him feel, he said: "I was called a fat bastard every time I played."

He told the jury he had suffered from bulimia and would train wearing a black bin liner to help him lose weight.

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Giving evidence about what was going through his mind at the time of the kiss, he also mentioned losing his nephew Jay two years before.

Gascoigne said that he sat next the woman, telling her "take no notice of what they say" and "listen, you're not fat and ugly, you are beautiful inside".

At that point, an usher in the court handed him a paper tissue.

Gascoigne said he gave the woman "just a little peck", that no tongue was involved and insisted that it was not sexual.

He claimed he was kissed "constantly" over the years and jurors were shown a four-page montage of images of Gascoigne kissing and being kissed by other people.

Miss Heeley said the pictures featured former footballers Steve Bull, Ian Wright, Ally McCoist and Wayne Rooney, as well as Diana, and fans.

Gascoigne said that, following his arrest, an officer had asked him about taking a selfie together at some stage.

Gascoigne told the court he was travelling back to Newcastle from Birmingham with his teenage nephews, having been to Belfast to watch a boxing match.

He agreed they were noisy on the train, but said it may have sounded like he was slurring his speech as he was not wearing a dental implant, demonstrating to jurors how his voice changed when he took it out.

He said he had undergone a new operation in Australia which involved him having pellets implanted in his stomach to prevent him drinking heavily, meaning he could no longer drink spirits.

He said he poured some Stella Artois into a milk carton which he had with him.

Earlier, the jury heard he told police the stomach operation meant he would "spew up" if he drank gin, and that he had drunk three or four cans of beer.

When asked why Gascoigne had not challenged the person who supposedly called his alleged victim "fat and ugly", he said: "I do not think it was for me to challenge anybody. I'm not that way inclined."

William Mousley QC, prosecuting, asked the defendant whether he had embellished or invented elements of his account to portray his innocence, saying: "You are just making it up as you go along, Mr Gascoigne, aren't you?

"You did not say anything like that when you were interviewed by the police, did you?"

Gascoigne denied that he had lied.

He denied trying to embarrass or humiliate the woman, whom he estimated to be around 20 years younger than him, replying: "She had already been humiliated."

Former boxing champ Ricky Hatton and top football agent Mel Stein gave character references in the trial of Paul Gascoigne to say he was a "tactile" person.

In a statement read out in court, the footballer's former agent recalled the player greeting a rabbi's wife with a hug and kiss at a bar mitzvah.

The player then apologised when he realised what he had done, and Mr Stein said the rabbi's wife "made no objection".

He said: "It is typical of the way Paul Gascoigne would greet people."

Mr Stein, a solicitor for more than 50 years, said he treated Gascoigne like a third son who was invited to family events.

Mr Stein, president of the Association of the Football Agents, said Gascoigne was friendly and "very tactile".

He recounted his generous nature and the good causes such as Great Ormond Street Hospital and a childhood asthma charity which the former England player has long supported.

Mr Stein said: "He would do anything for anyone, he would give money to total strangers if he thought they were in need."

Mr Hatton, a former welterweight world champion, got to know Gascoigne over the years, having first met at a charity event, and said was happy, friendly and "larger than life".

The retired boxer said: "He is very tactile when he meets me, he rushes over and gives me a hug and sometimes kisses me on the cheek, that is the way he has always been."