MIDDLESBROUGH, England — Former England soccer star Paul Gascoigne briefly wept in the witness box Tuesday as he denied any sexual intent when he kissed a female passenger on a train.
The 52-year-old Gascoigne is on trial accused of sexual assault after the passenger alleged he "forcibly and sloppily" planted an unwanted kiss on her lips in August last year.
Gascoigne admitted giving the woman "just a little peck," but said that no tongue was involved and insisted that it was not sexual.
He also claimed he was kissed "constantly" over the years and jurors at the Teesside Crown Court were shown a montage of images of Gascoigne kissing and being kissed by other people, including other footballers, fans and even by the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
Gascoigne, who has struggled with alcohol and mental-health problems, was arrested at Durham station on Aug. 20. He said the incident happened after he was asked for a selfie, which the complainant took of him with two other women on the train. He claimed someone on the train then shouted: "You don’t want a photo with her, she’s fat and ugly."
Gascoigne recalled telling her to "take no notice of what they say" and "listen, you’re not fat and ugly, you are beautiful inside."
He also denied trying to embarrass or humiliate the woman by kissing her, replying: "She had already been humiliated."
Gascoigne told the court he was travelling back to Newcastle from Birmingham with his teenage nephews, having been to Belfast to watch a boxing match.