Ex-England player found not guilty of sexual assault

Ex-England player found not guilty of sexual assault

Paul Gascoigne, a former England footballer has been found not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman on training by forcefully kissing her on the lips.

Gascoigne appeared at Teeside Crown Court where he denied the offense while insisting it was not sexual. The 52-year-old says he kissed the stranger in order to boost her confidence after he overheard someone branding her fat on a train going from York to Newcastle last summer.

"Automatically I went and sat next to her and said, 'Look, you're not fat and ugly, you're beautiful inside," he said. 

According to Gascoigne, the insult towards the woman came after someone suggested she have "a selfie with Gazza", at which point he overheard someone say: "You don't want a photo with her, she's fat and ugly."

In his police interview after his arrest, which was played in court, Gascoigne told officers he did not consider the kiss a case of sexual harassment. "I get kissed all the time, so if that's the case I have been sexually harassed for 20 years."

Judge Peter Armstrong told the jury he was willing to accept a majority verdict on the charge of assault by beating. He said that "assault by beating" is committed if the defendant "intentionally applies unlawful force to another who does not consent to it"

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