London - Former
England footballer Paul Gascoigne on Tuesday told a court that he gave a
woman accusing him of sexual assault a "little peck" after she was
called "fat and ugly".
The 52-year-old ex-Newcastle United, Spurs and Lazio midfielder also
showed jurors a file of photographs of him kissing other footballers and
even Princess Diana to prove the encounter was not sexual.
"Gazza", as he is widely known, wept briefly in the witness box at
Teesside Crown Court in northeast England, as he denied assaulting the
woman on a York to Newcastle train last August.
Prosecutors said on Monday that he had planted a "sloppy", drunken kiss on his accuser.
Giving evidence, Gascoigne, who denies a single charge of sexual
assault, said he was asked to pose for a photograph with two women,
which the complainant took.
He then claimed someone shouted: "You don't want a photo with her, she's fat and ugly".
He said he felt sorry for the woman as "I was called a fat bastard every time I played."
He then told jurors that he sat next to the woman, telling her "take
no notice of what they say" and "listen, you're not fat and ugly, you
are beautiful inside".
Then he gave her "just a little peck", he said.
The jury was shown four pages of photographs of Gascoigne
platonically kissing, and being kissed, by celebrities and footballers
including Ian Wright and Wayne Rooney.
Gascoigne dazzled during the 1990 World Cup in Italy, capturing the
nation's heart when he got booked in the semi-final against West
The yellow card would have ruled him out of the final had England progressed.
The former player has struggled with alcoholism since retiring from
top-flight football, and admitted he had drunk three or four cans of
beer on the train.