For allegedly planting a “sloppy” drunken kiss on a fellow train passenger, former England footballer Paul Gascoigne was arraigned in court on charges of sexual assault.
The 52-year-old ex-Newcastle United, Spurs and Lazio midfielder told police he kissed the woman to boost her confidence, Teesside Crown Court in northeast England.
Prosecutor William Mousley told jurors the case concerned “a brief but unpleasant assault with sexual overtones on a train by a drunken male stranger in his 50s”.
After moving away from her seat in front of Gascoigne due to his drunken behaviour, and after he tried to sit on her, Gascoigne then “put his hands on her cheeks and kissed her forcibly and sloppily on the lips,” said Mousley. She called the police after getting off the York to Newcastle train, and officers called Gascoigne that night.
Gascoigne, widely regarded as one of the most talented players of his generation, told police he knew what the claim was about, saying he had “kissed a fat lass”, Mousley said. The prosecutor said the woman had found the incident “shocking, upsetting”.
Gascoigne broke onto the global stage with his dazzling performances during the 1990 World Cup in Italy, capturing the nation’s heart when he burst into tears after getting booked in the semi-final defeat against West Germany, which would have ruled him out of a potential final.
He has since struggled with alcoholism since retiring from top-flight football. Gascoigne known as “Gazza” made his name with home-town club Newcastle before going on to play for Tottenham, Italian giants Lazio and several other teams including Glasgow Rangers.
He however denies the single charge of sexual assault.