Former footballer Paul Gascoigne drunkenly grabbed and ‘forcefully’ kissed a female train passenger on the lips before telling police ‘I kissed a fat lass’, a court has heard.
Gascoigne, 52, was drunk and swearing on a York to Newcastle train at Darlington and ‘cornered’ his victim who had moved to get away from him, the jury were told.
He took her face in two hands and forced a kiss on her lips, causing the woman to recoil in shock before other passengers intervened, the court heard.
When confronted by other passengers, Gascoigne told them he had tried to give the woman a ‘confidence boost’, the court heard.
Paul Gascoigne has arrived at Teesside Crown Court in Middlesbrough ahead of his trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman by kissing her on a train
The woman told jurors how she noticed the former footballer being ‘very noisy’ on the train, saying: ‘There were lots of cans on the floor.’
When asked to describe his demeanour, the woman said he had food on his face, adding: ‘He certainly seemed drunk, intoxicated.’
She put her headphones on and attempted to ignore the noise coming from Gascoigne behind her, she said.
She added: ‘Midway through the journey he asked me if I was a palm reader. I said no and tried to keep looking forward.’
The woman described how, later on in the journey, Gascoigne attempted to sit on her lap, at which point she moved aside.
She told jurors: ‘He kept saying sorry. I said “It’s fine”. I was just looking out of the window. He said sorry a second time, and then tapped my arm.
‘I turned around to face him and he grabbed my face and kissed me full on the lips, and I was taken aback because it was just completely out of the blue.’
A supporter of the former footballer shouted ‘Go on Gazza, lad’ as he arrived at the court
Earlier today, when opening the case for the jury, William Mousley, QC, prosecuting, at Teesside Crown Court said: ‘This case concerns a brief but unpleasant assault with sexual overtones on a woman on train in August 2018 by a drunken male stranger in his 50s.’
The unaccompanied woman noticed Gascoigne – who she did not recognise at the time – in the row behind her and saw that he was drunk and swearing, telling other passengers he’d had to pay a guard for his ticket.
Gascoigne, the court heard, tried to engage with the woman and other female passengers.
He moved his suitcase and as he went back to his seat he tried to sit on the woman, causing her to move to a seat closer to the window, the court heard.
Mr Mousley said: ‘He continued trying to engage with her as she was looking out of the window and tapped her on the arm causing her to look round.
‘He put his hands on her cheeks and kissed her forcefully and sloppily on the lips. Upset and shocked she pushed him away and told hi to get off.’
The incident happened on a York to Newcastle train at Darlington (pictured in file photo)
Mr Mousley added that, when later quizzed by police, the former England player described the woman as a ‘fat lass’.
He claimed other passengers had been teasing her about her build and that he had given her a ‘peck on the lips to reassure her’, the court heard.
Describing the alleged offence as a ‘blatant act’, the prosecutor said that it was ‘humiliating’ for the woman involved, adding: ‘Perhaps it was him showing off.’
Gascoigne, 52, of Leicester, denies one court of sexual assault.
The footballer rose to international fame during the 1990 World Cup and is regarded as the most talented midfielder of his generation.
After leaving his hometown club, Newcastle United, in 1988, he played for Tottenham Hotspur, Lazio and Rangers among others. He retired from football in 2004.
At the start of the trial today, jurors were warned that they need to put any ‘pre-formed view’ about Gascoigne to one side, given his celebrity status.
Judge Peter Armstrong told them: ‘With the celebrity of the defendant, it may be you have a pre-formed view of him. You put that to one side.’
The trial continues.