Sport

Former England player Paul Gascoigne denies train kiss had sexual intent

Former England player Paul Gascoigne denies train kiss had sexual intent”

The jury has gone out to consider its verdict in the trial of former football star Paul Gascoigne, who is accused of sexually assaulting a woman on a train by forcefully kissing her on the lips.

Prosecutor William Mousley's comments Monday came as Gascoigne, who has struggled with alcohol and mental-health problems, went on trial at Teesside Crown Court charged with sexual assault of the female passenger.

After the woman tried to move away from the former footballer, he put his hands on her cheeks and kissed her, the court heard.

Jurors trying Paul Gascoigne on a sexual assault charge after he kissed a woman on a train have been told they will be offered an alternative charge of assault by beating.

In her closing speech to the jury Michelle Heeley QC, defending, told jurors the former footballer kissed a woman who was not expecting it and did not like it, but that did not make him a sex offender.

The alleged victim said she had "no recollection" of that, adding: "It was longer, maybe three, four, five". I turned around to face him and he grabbed my face and kissed me full on the lips'.

She told the British Transport Police about the alleged assault after leaving the train soon after, the court heard.

Then when other passengers challenged him, he said he had done it "to boost her confidence", jurors were told.

Referring to his illustrious global career, she said a kiss could mean many things, including a celebration "when you score one of the greatest goals England has ever seen, against Scotland in Euro '96".

She told the jury she had put on her headphones and tried to ignore the noise coming from Mr Gascoigne behind her.

The women described how Gascoigne "kept saying sorry".

The witness said that earlier on in the journey she had seen Mr Gascoigne drinking something from a milk carton, saying: "It was not the colour of milk".

Asked about her reaction, she said: 'I just completely froze'.

The woman responded: "I do not recall that happening".

The prosecutor said that after drawing attention to himself, the man, whom the woman later learned was Mr Gascoigne, had tried to sit on her. When I realised what happened I pushed him off and said: "'That's not OK - get off'".

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 told officers on the phone that he knew what it was about.

Mr Mousley said: 'Instead of showing any real contrition he lied by making up a story that he had overheard someone abusing her about her build and weight. "A drunk stranger cornering her, taking hold and forcing his wet and sloppy mouth on hers", he said, describing the incident as "shocking, upsetting and perhaps even frightening at what else might have happened".

The defence showed the jury pictures of Gascoigne kissing and being kissed by other people, including former footballers Steve Bull, Ian Wright, Ally McCoist and Wayne Rooney, as well Diana, Princess of Wales.



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