Paul Gascoigne given suspended drink-driving sentence


Former footballer Paul Gascoigne has been given a suspended prison sentence after he admitted drinking and driving.

The 43-year-old Tyneside-born former England midfielder was stopped by police in Newcastle on 8 October.

The city's magistrates' court was told that Gascoigne was more than four times the legal alcohol limit.

He was handed an eight-week sentence, suspended for a year, and banned from driving for three years. He was also given an alcohol treatment order.

The court was told Gascoigne was five weeks into a 12-week anti-drink programme in Dorset.

Gascoigne, who played top flight football for Newcastle, Tottenham, Lazio, Rangers, Everton and Middlesbrough in a career spanning nearly 20 years, also attends Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

His solicitor Stephen Andrews said: "The talk now is of an extensive and elongated period of support while not actually under the roof of the Providence Project, but certainly within easy reach, given the continued support they would propose to offer.

"Previously, it has been on his terms. He's gone in, he has used it as he saw fit and of course relapsed because he has not done the full programme.

"This time it has been on their terms."

District Judge Stephen Earl said he believed a 12-week sentence, with a third off as credit for a guilty plea, was appropriate.

He said the sentence was suspended in recognition of Gascoigne's progress in the treatment programme.

'Toon Army'

He warned the former footballer that if he re-offended in the next 12 months, the jail term would be triggered.

District Judge Earl added: "I hope not to see you again."

Gascoigne made no comment when he left court, but Mr Andrews said he was relieved and that it was a "good result".

Outside the court well-wishers shouted, "Toon Army never surrenders", and he signed autographs for fans.

He then got into his lawyer's car which became stuck in heavy snow in the car park behind the court.

The vehicle - which sported a Manchester City pendant on the passenger window - was pushed free by members of the press.

Gascoigne is also due to be tried on a separate charge of drinking and driving, which he denies.

He is accused of driving a Ford Transit van while more than four times the legal alcohol limit on 7 February at Leeming Bar, in North Yorkshire.

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