Paul Gascoigne gets not guilty verdict from jury on sexual assault charge
The jury has returned with a verdict on the sexual assault charge on Paul Gascoigne.
The fourth day of the trial and Gazza has been found not guilty on that sexual assault charge.
However, that is not the end of the matter.
As the jury must now consider the lesser charge of ‘assault by beating’, with regard to the alleged incident that happened in August 2018 on a train.
Not surprisingly, the court case has inspired many headlines and filled many pages of copy.
When making her closing statement to the jury, Michelle Heeley QC, defending, told jurors that 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 jury obviously agreeing with that assessment.
Evening Standard report:
Paul Gascoigne has been found not guilty of sexual assault after kissing a fellow train passenger on the lips.
The jury is still considering a lesser, alternative count of assault by beating.
The 52-year-old ex-England midfielder, known as Gazza, had denied the offence, saying it was not sexual, and that he kissed the stranger to boost her confidence after he heard someone call her fat.
Teesside Crown Court heard the complainant was on a York to Newcastle train in August 2018 when Gascoigne, who was loud and swearing, drunkenly sat down next to her, tapped her on the arm, grabbed her by the cheeks and planted a sloppy kiss on her lips.
After she was kissed, the woman, who cannot be named, was shocked and a fellow passenger challenged Gascoigne, saying: “What you have just done is sexual abuse.”
Police later traced Gascoigne to a hotel in Jesmond, Newcastle. When an officer spoke to him on the phone, prior to arrest, the footballer said: “I know what it’s about, I kissed a fat lass.”
When he gave evidence, Gascoigne said he was trying to reassure his alleged victim after he claimed to have overheard someone say of her: “You don’t want a photo with her, she’s fat and ugly.”
He spoke of his own battle with his weight, struggles with bulimia and bullying suffered by family members.
He denied being drunk at the time, telling the jury he had undergone an operation in Australia to have pellets implanted in his stomach which would make him “spew up” if he drank spirits.
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