PAUL Gascoigne wept in court today as he took the witness stand in his sex-assault trial.
The ex-England ace, 52, told a cop he was “just trying to help a fat lass” after kissing a woman on the lips on a train between York and Durham, a court heard.
Paul Gascoigne arrived at court today on the second day of his trial[/caption]
Gascoigne had been “shouting and swearing” behind the woman and had asked if she was a fortune teller on August 20 last year, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Today, the ex-midfielder broke down in tears as he took the witness stand to deny that the kiss was sexual, and said: “I get kissed all the time. If that’s the case I’ve been sexually harassed for the last 20 years.”
Jurors were shown a video of Gascoigne kissing people and people kissing him, including Princess Diana and Wayne Rooney.
Gascoigne told the jury he stuck up for the woman after cruel passengers branded her “fat and ugly”.
Having been branded overweight himself during his playing career, the defendant has an instinct to “automatically protect” those who are called fat, Gascoigne told jurors.
He says he went to sit next to her and said “Listen, you’re not fat and ugly” then kissed her on the lips.
The former Tottenham midfielder revealed he had battled bulimia after he was called a “fat b*****”.
The former midfielder said he had looked to reassure his alleged victim after overhearing someone say of her: “You don’t want a photo with her, she’s fat and ugly.”
Having been branded overweight himself during his playing career, the defendant has an instinct to “automatically protect” those who are called fat, he told jurors.
Gascoigne said that he came and sat next to the woman, telling her “take no notice of what they say” and “listen, you’re not fat and ugly”.
The former midfielder said that the kiss itself was “just a little peck”, that no tongue had been involved and that it was not sexual.
The defendant said he had been kissed constantly, and jurors were shown a montage of images of Gascoigne kissing and being kissed by other people, featuring former footballers Steve Bull, Ian Wright, Ally McCoist and Wayne Rooney, as well as Princess Diana.
He said that, following his arrest, an officer had asked him about taking a selfie together at some stage.
Giving evidence, British Transport Police PC Robert Moody explained how he arrested Gascoigne at the Jesmond Dene Hotel in Newcastle some hours after the incident.
The PC said he had spoken to the former footballer prior to travelling to the hotel, telling jurors how Gascoigne said: “I know what it’s about, I kissed a fat lass.”
PC Moody said that when he got to the hotel, he saw Gascoigne sat in the foyer in an “intoxicated, drunken state” with a glass of beer in his hand.
He said that, after the defendant had been arrested, he told a custody sergeant: “All I was doing was trying to help a fat lass.”
Jurors heard a transcript of the interview police conducted with Gascoigne following the incident, in which he said he had not been drinking heavily as he had recently had an operation.
The court heard how the footballer told officers that, after hearing somebody describe his alleged victim as fat: “I sat down next to her and just gave her a peck on the lips, and that was it.”
I felt sorry for her. I made sure – she was not fat and ugly
When asked if his actions had been to reassure the woman about her build, Gascoigne said: “I felt sorry for her. I made sure – she was not fat and ugly.”
Jurors were told that Gascoigne had said to officers that he had only had “three or four cans” prior to the incident because spirits made him “spew up” following a recent operation.
He said during the interview: “Before the operation I could drink gin no problem.”
The former footballer said during the interview: “I’m not a serious guy, I enjoy life. I’ve got myself in trouble down the years.”
In court on Monday, prosecutor William Mousley QC said Gazza, who played for Newcastle, Spurs, Everton and Lazio, was “drunk”.
The jury was told that while being quizzed by cops he said he had given the woman a “peck on the lips to reassure her”.
When the footballer was confronted by other passengers, he told them he had tried to give her a “confidence boost”, the court heard.
Describing the alleged offence as a “blatant act”, Mr Mousley said it was “humiliating” for the woman involved, adding: “Perhaps it was him showing off.”
Giving evidence today, the woman told jurors she noticed the former footballer being “very noisy” on the train, saying: “There were lots of cans on the floor.”
‘HE GRABBED MY FACE AND KISSED ME’
She explained she had put headphones on to block out the noise from “intoxicated” Gascoigne but he engaged her in a conversation by asking if she was a palm reader.
The woman said: “I turned around to face him and he grabbed my face and kissed me full on the lips, and I was taken aback because it was just completely out of the blue.”
She told jurors she did not know that the man who kissed her on the train was the former footballer until after the incident.
The woman also denied someone had asked him: “Why would you want a photo with that fat cow?”
Gascoigne’s barrister Michelle Heeley QC asked if had come over to comfort her and said “do not worry, you’re very beautiful”, before moving to kiss her.
The woman responded: “I do not recall that happening.”
GAZZA ON TRIAL
Gascoigne is on trial at Teesside Crown Court after denying one count of sexual assault by touching in December last year.
The footballer was pictured arriving at court yesterday wearing sunglasses and a blue suit with a matching blue and white tie.
Before he entered the doors a fan shouted: “Come on Gazza, man!” Gascoigne smiled and replied: “Alright lads?”
Jurors were asked to put any views they have of him to one side and had to state if they were ever employed by any of his previous clubs.
Midfielder Gascoigne earned 57 caps for England during his international career and was branded one of the greatest players of his generation.
He famously broke down in tears at the 1990 World Cup after receiving a yellow card in the semi-final with West Germany – meaning he would not play if England reached the final.
During his career, Gazza enjoyed successful stints at Tottenham, where he helped the team win the FA Cup in 1991, Lazio, Rangers and Middlesbrough.
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The ace also played for Everton and later had spells at Burnley and Boston United.
But following retirement, Gazza battled alcohol problems – although has since turned his life around.
The trial is expected to last five days.
A tearful Gazza after England lose to West Germany in the 1990 Fifa World Cup[/caption]