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Paul Gascoigne guilty over racist comment

Media captionPaul Gascoigne poses for photos and signs autographs as he arrives at Dudley Magistrates’ Court

Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne has pleaded guilty to racially aggravated abuse after a “joke” he told during a show.

Gascoigne, 49, made the comment during An Evening With Gazza in Wolverhampton on 30 November 2015.

At Dudley Magistrates’ Court, the ex-player admitted using “threatening or abusive words or behaviour”.

Gascoigne, who lives in Dorset, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation.

On his way into court he stopped to sign autographs, including on a man’s chest.

‘Insidious racism’

Gascoigne changed his plea to guilty before the first witness was called to evidence.

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After the change of plea, District Judge Graham Wilkinson told the court the ex-player had admitted “the sort of insidious racism” that needed to be challenged. He told Gascoigne what happened was a “stain on his character”.

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Express Star

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Paul Gascoigne made the comment in front of hundreds of people at his An Evening With Gazza show

Gascoigne, whose career included spells at Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Rangers, made the comment to a black security guard at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

The Express Star newspaper reported the charge related to a remark the former England midfielder made about the guard, who was in a darkened part of the stage. Gascoigne allegedly said he could not tell “if he was smiling or not”.

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Express Star

Image caption

The retired footballer shares anecdotes about his career at his An Evening With Gazza events

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37406549