LONDON: A jury on Thursday cleared former England footballer Paul Gascoigne of sexual assault and assault by beating after he kissed a fellow train passenger without her consent.Jurors at Teesside...
LONDON: A jury on Thursday cleared former England footballer Paul Gascoigne of sexual assault and assault by beating after he kissed a fellow train passenger without her consent.
Jurors at Teesside Crown Court in northeast England acquitted the 52-year-old ex-Newcastle United, Spurs and Lazio midfielder of both charges following a three-day trial.
Gascoigne—widely known as “Gazza”—insisted when he gave evidence that he had no sexual intent. He wept in the dock as the initial sexual assault verdict was returned. The jury then cleared the footballer of an alternative charge of assault by beating.
“You are now discharged and free to go,” judge Peter Armstrong told the defendant, who can now apply to have his court costs paid. Gascoigne had denied sexually assaulting the woman on a train last August, claiming he planted a “little peck” on the stranger to boost her confidence after she had been abused by another passenger.
The jury was shown four pages of photographs of Gascoigne platonically kissing, and being kissed, by celebrities and footballers including Ian Wright and Wayne Rooney. The former player has struggled with alcoholism since retiring from top-flight football, and admitted he had drunk three or four cans of beer on the train.