England

Paul Gascoigne train kiss trial: Ex-footballer 'lied and lied and lied'

Paul Gascoigne arriving at Teesside Crown Court Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Paul Gascoigne claimed his kiss was a confidence booster

Ex-England footballer Paul Gascoigne "lied and lied and lied" when he told a jury he kissed a woman on a train to comfort her, a court has heard.

The 52-year-old is accused of "forcefully and sloppily" kissing a woman on a service from York to Newcastle in August 2018.

He claims he kissed her on the lips to "boost her confidence" after he heard a male passenger call her overweight.

Prosecutor William Mousley QC said the ex-player had "put up a smokescreen".

The former Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Rangers, Middlesbrough and Everton midfielder, has told Teesside Crown Court the kiss was "just a peck" and was not sexual.

But the woman, who cannot be named, said in evidence Mr Gascoigne "forcefully and sloppily" kissed her on the lips while drunk on the train, leaving her "shocked and upset".

In his closing speech to the jury, Mr Mousley said of Mr Gascoigne's account: "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."

'Truth and lies'

Mr Mousley said of the kiss: "Either it was an unpleasant assault, or it was an act of kindness. Guilty if the former, not-guilty if it were the latter.

"This is a case, we submit, about truth and lies.

"There is a stark difference between the two and we submit that if you approach this case by deciding which facts you are sure about, that will lead you to a conclusion one way or the other."

Referring to evidence that Mr Gascoigne may have slurred his words because he didn't have a bridge and had missing teeth, he said: "He lied through his teeth, whichever teeth they were at the particular time."

Earlier, Mr Gascoigne, who lives in Leicester, broke down in the witness box while denying the single charge of sexual assault by touching.

In her own closing speech, Michelle Heeley QC, defending, said: "Quite frankly, the defence case is that you cannot be sure that Mr Gascoigne had a sexual intention."

She added: "In his 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."

Judge Peter Armstrong told the jury that if they all agreed the defendant was not guilty of sexual assault, they could consider a lesser offence of assault by beating.

The trial continues.

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