A JURY has been sworn in at Teesside Crown Court to hear the case of former England footballer Paul Gascoigne, who denies a charge of sexual assault.

The 52-year-old is accused of kissing a woman on a train between York and Newcastle on August 20 last year.

Prior to the swearing-in of the jury of eight men and four women, Judge Peter Armstrong asked them whether they had worked for any of Gascoigne's past clubs, including Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough, Rangers and Everton.

The judge told the jury that Gascoigne faces a charge of sexual assault, which he denies.

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."

Opening the case for the prosecution in Gascoigne's trial, William Mousley QC said: "This case concerns a brief but unpleasant assault with sexual overtones on a train."

He said that the man involved in the incident was a "drunk, male passenger in his 50s".

Mr Mousley said that the alleged victim had been travelling home on the train, which was going between York and Newcastle, when she noticed a "shouty and sweary" passenger behind her.

The prosecutor said that after drawing attention to himself, the man, who the woman later learned was Gascoigne, had attempted to sit on her.

Jurors heard that, after the woman had attempted to move away from the former footballer, he put his hands on her cheeks and kissed her "very forcibly and sloppily on the lips".

When confronted by other passengers, Gascoigne told them he had tried to give her a "confidence boost", the court heard.

Mr Mousley added that, when later quizzed by police, the former England player described the woman as a "fat lass", trying to defend himself by saying other passengers had been teasing her about her build and that he had given her a "peck on the lips to reassure her".

Describing the alleged offence as a "blatant act", the prosecutor added that it was "humiliating" for the woman involved, adding: "Perhaps it was him showing off."

Gascoigne's alleged victim has been called as a witness in the trial, and 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."

Explaining how she put her headphones on and attempted to ignore the noise coming from Gascoigne behind her, she said: "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, he 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."

Continuing her evidence at Teesside Crown Court, the woman tearfully said that, when she realised what was happening, she pushed Gascoigne off and said: "No, that's not OK."

Asked to describe the kiss, she said it was "sloppy" and "forceful", saying: "It was not a peck on the cheek."

Asked about her reaction, she said: "I just completely froze."

She said that she did not realise that it was Gascoigne until a later date.

Continuing her evidence following a break for lunch at Teesside Crown Court, Paul Gascoigne's alleged victim told jurors she did not know that the man who kissed her on the train was the former footballer until after the incident.

Taking questions from the 52-year-old's defence barrister, Michelle Heeley QC, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied that somebody had said to Gascoigne: "Why would you want a photo with that fat cow?"

Ms Heeley then put it to the witness that Gascoigne had come over to comfort her and said "do not worry, you're very beautiful", before moving to kiss her.

The woman responded: "I do not recall that happening."

Mr Heeley asked whether a fellow passenger had said, following the kiss: "You've got a responsibility to other women on this train to do something [about the incident]."

The woman said: "I had already made up my mind to report it to the travel police, because it was unwanted behaviour, there was no instigation on my part of wanting any attention from him."

Concluding her evidence, Paul Gascoigne's alleged victim told the Teesside Crown Court jury that the kiss "just shocked me".

She said: "It came out of nowhere. It just shocked me. I was rather upset. I just wanted to get home."

The witness added that any attempt on Gascoigne's part to apologise for the incident was for appearance, telling the court: "He was just saying sorry for the sake of it, not because it was actually meant."

A female passenger who was on the train told the jury that she saw Paul Gascoigne kiss the woman, saying that the alleged victim was "very shaken".

She told Teesside Crown Court that, moments after the incident, she had heard the former footballer say: "I was just trying to give her some confidence."

The witness said that earlier on in the journey she had seen Gascoigne drinking something from a milk carton, saying: "It was not the colour of milk."