The sex assault trial of former England footballer Paul Gascoigne began today.
The 52-year-old former Tottenham and Rangers midfielder was drunk and swearing on a train near Darlington in August last year when he attempted to sit on a woman and force himself upon her, leaving her ‘frozen’ with fear, Teesside Crown Court heard today.
Gascoigne took her face in his hands and kissed her before other passengers intervened.
He would later ‘make up a story’ saying he had ‘kissed a fat lass’ to boost her confidence.
He was arrested at his hotel in Jesmond, Newcastle.The footballer defended his actions to police saying she was being abused by other passengers because of her weight, and he kissed her to ‘reassure her’.
Prosecuting, William Mousley QC 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.
‘He had given her, he said, a peck on the lips to reassure her because he felt sorry for her. He appeared to indicate that what he had done was not serious and nothing to be bothered about.
‘He denied trying to sit on her and said that if his behaviour was sexual harassment then he had been a victim for 20 years or more every time he had been kissed. His lies were deliberate and told out of guilt but he was not prepared to face up to them.’
Speaking from behind a screen to maintain her anonymity, the victim said she ‘completely froze’ when he kissed her.
She told the court: ‘He was trying to sit on my lap almost. I didn’t want to make a fuss, I knew I was not too far from where I wanted to get off, I didn’t want to do anything to antagonise or make a fuss.
‘He kept saying sorry and I kept just looking out of the window. He said sorry a second time and then tapped my arm again and I turned around. He grabbed my face, kissed me full on the lips.
‘I was taken aback, it came completely out of the blue. I pushed him off, I pushed him away and said that is not OK, get off. It was on the mouth, I kept my mouth firmly shut, I just completely froze.
‘It was sloppy, not a peck on the cheek that you might give someone, it was very full on the lips and it was forceful. He just kind of mumbled.’
Passenger Rebecca Jacques boarded at Chesterfield and sat across the aisle from Gascoigne.
She said of the incident: ‘He put his hand on the lady’s head and he put his tongue in her mouth. I was sitting side on so I could see exactly what he had done. It was clear he had got carried away with whatever he thought was going on.’
The witness added that when she asked a male passenger why he had not done anything she was told: ‘It’s Paul Gascoigne.’
Gascoigne denies one count of sexual assault. The trial continues at Tuesday.
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