Paul Gascoigne has been cleared by a jury at Teesside Crown Court of sexual assault after he kissed a woman on a train.
The former England international was later cleared of an alternative, less serious charge of assault by beating.
After the verdict was returned the ex-Newcastle and England midfielder thanked the judge, the jury and his dentist – an apparent reference to evidence earlier in the trial about him not having his false teeth in when he was on the train.
In August 2018, Gascoigne was arrested by a British Transport Police officer at the Jesmond Dene Hotel in Newcastle after he kissed the woman earlier in the day. The officer who arrested him found him drinking in the hotel foyer, in a "intoxicated, drunken state".
In his interview with police, Gascoigne claimed that he had heard a man abusing the woman about her weight and felt sorry for her. Part of his reasoning was that his niece had been teased in school for being overweight.
He told police: "I thought it was out of order calling her a fat lass. I sat next to her and gave her a peck on the lips. Some other girl got up and started having a go at us."
‘Naive, not sexual’
After the arrest, Gascoigne told the custody sergeant: "All I was doing was trying to help a fat lass."
When asked if he regarded the kiss as sexual harassment, the 52-year-old replied: "I get kissed all the time, so if that's the case I have been sexually harassed for 20 years."
Yesterday, Michelle Heeley QC, defending, said: "In his [Gascoigne’s] own naive way, he thought he was making a larger woman have more body confidence. It's a clumsy way to go about building someone's confidence, but it was not sexual."
Speaking about Gascoigne in his closing speech to the jury yesterday, Mr Mousley said: "Right from the start, members of the jury, he lied, and lied, and lied.
"He lied right up to and including the time when he was giving evidence in court yesterday.
"There's an obvious reason as to why he lied and that's because he knows he is guilty of sexual assault but wants to put up a smokescreen, cause a diversion, suggest it was not, as it so obviously was."
Gascoigne had got on the train at Birmingham with his two teenage nephews and had also been to watch a boxing match in Belfast. He said that they had been messing about, which is why he had a cake sticker on his forehead (put there by his nephew).
"I get kissed all the time, so if that's the case I have been sexually harassed for 20 years."
He went on to tell the police: “I am not a serious person, I enjoy life like it is, I have got myself into a lot of trouble over the years.”
"I had this operation where they put pellets in and if you drink or take any drugs you spew up."
The woman alleges Paul Gascoigne sexually assaulted her on a train by planting a sloppy, drunken kiss on her lips has tearfully told a jury how it was “completely out of the blue”.
‘He kept saying sorry’
On the first day of the trial, the woman, giving evidence behind a screen anonymously, said she noticed the man, whom she did not recognise, was being noisy and had food around his mouth.
Asked to describe his demeanour, the woman said: “He certainly seemed drunk, intoxicated.”
She told the jury she put her headphones on and attempted to ignore the noise coming from Gascoigne behind her, saying: “Midway through the journey he asked me if I was a palm reader.
“I said no and tried to keep looking forward.”
The woman described how, later on in the journey, he attempted to sit on her lap, at which point she moved aside.
She told jurors: “He kept saying sorry. I said ‘It’s fine’. I was just looking out of the window.
“He said sorry a second time, and then tapped my arm.
“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.”
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