LONDON, Oct 15 — Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne today told a court that he gave a woman accusing him of sexual assault a “little peck” after she was called “fat and ugly”.
The 52-year-old ex-Newcastle United, Spurs and Lazio midfielder also showed jurors a file of photographs of him kissing other footballers and even Princess Diana to prove the encounter was not sexual.
“Gazza”, as he is widely known, wept briefly in the witness box at Teesside Crown Court in northeast England, as he denied assaulting the woman on a York to Newcastle train last August.
Prosecutors said yesterday that he had planted a “sloppy”, drunken kiss on his accuser.
Giving evidence, Gascoigne, who denies a single charge of sexual assault, said he was asked to pose for a photograph with two women, which the complainant took.
He then claimed someone shouted: “You don’t want a photo with her, she’s fat and ugly”.
He said he felt sorry for the woman as “I was called a fat bastard every time I played.”
He then told jurors that he sat next to the woman, telling her “take no notice of what they say” and “listen, you’re not fat and ugly, you are beautiful inside”.
Then he gave her “just a little peck”, he said.
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.
Gascoigne dazzled during the 1990 World Cup in Italy, capturing the nation’s heart when he got booked in the semi-final against West Germany.
The yellow card would have ruled him out of the final had England progressed.
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. — AFP