Gascoigne friend blames mystery man in drink-drive case

image sourcePA
image captionGascoigne was also given an alcohol treatment order by Newcastle magistrates

A man accused of drinking and driving while out with ex England footballer Paul Gascoigne has told a court a "mystery" man drove on his behalf.

Michael Harvey, 41, from Gateshead, told magistrates he was a banned driver and had accepted an offer by an unknown man to drive the Ford Transit for him.

Harvey and Gascoigne had earlier been fly-fishing and arrived in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, to stay.

A drinking and driving charge against Gascoigne was previously dropped.

Northerallerton Magistrates' Court was told the pair stayed at the Corner House Hotel on 7 February last year where the son of the landlady parked the vehicle for them at a nearby car park.

They then went drinking and played pool in several pubs before walking to a nearby takeaway.

'Run off'

It is alleged Harvey, of Wood Street, then went to get the van and drove the vehicle while more than two times the legal limit from the car park to the Regency takeaway.

The court was shown CCTV footage showing Gascoigne ordering a pizza before he is joined by Harvey.

Harvey is seen leaving the takeaway and moments later a vehicle pulls up outside.

It was alleged Harvey had pulled up in the van to pick up Gascoigne and their food.

The footage shows Gascoigne getting into the front passenger seat while Harvey walks to the driver's door and opens it, just as a marked police van arrives.

Both men denied driving the vehicle and told police the driver had "run off".

'Pack of lies'

Both were arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

At the court hearing Harvey was accused of telling an "absolute pack of lies".

Prosecutor Stephanie Hancock said: "This mystery man, this lad just simply didn't exist."

Gascoigne, 43, was facing a drinking and driving charge over the incident but the case against him was dropped on 10 February.

Harvey denies driving while over the legal limit.

Magistrates have been told Harvey had 259 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine. The legal alcohol limit is 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

He pleaded guilty last year to a separate charge of being in charge of a motor vehicle while over the limit but denies driving without insurance and driving while disqualified.

The case continues.

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