THE second day of Paul Gascoigne's trial has started at Teesside Crown Court.

The former footballer, 52, is accused of sexual assault after a passenger on a train alleged he gave her a sloppy, drunken kiss in August last year.

Jurors heard on Monday how the former Newcastle United, Spurs, Rangers, Middlesbrough and Everton midfielder had "seemed drunk" on the train, which was travelling between York and Newcastle.

In his opening of the trial, prosecutor William Mousley QC said: "This case concerns a brief but unpleasant assault with sexual overtones on a train by a drunken male stranger in his 50s.

"He put his hands on her cheeks and kissed her forcibly and sloppily on the lips."

Giving evidence, British Transport Police Pc Robert Moody explained how he arrested Gascoigne at the Jesmond Dene Hotel in Newcastle some hours after the incident.

The Pc said he had spoken to the former footballer prior to travelling to the hotel, telling jurors how Gascoigne said: "I know what it's about, I kissed a fat lass."

Pc Moody said that when he got to the hotel, he saw Gascoigne sat in the foyer in an "intoxicated, drunken state" with a glass of beer in his hand.

He said that, after the defendant had been arrested, he told a custody sergeant: "All I was doing was trying to help a fat lass."

Jurors have heard a transcript of the interview police conducted with Gascoigne following the incident, in which he said he had not been drinking heavily as he had recently had an operation.

The court heard how the footballer told officers that, after hearing somebody describe his alleged victim as fat: "I sat down next to her and just gave her a peck on the lips, and that was it."

When asked whether his actions had been to reassure the woman about her build, Gascoigne said: "I felt sorry for her. I made sure - she was not fat and ugly."

Jurors were told that Gascoigne had said to officers that he had only had "three or four cans" prior to the incident because spirits made him "spew up" following a recent operation.

He said during the interview: "Before the operation I could drink gin no problem."

The court heard how, when asked whether Gascoigne regarded the kiss as sexual harassment, he responded: "I get kissed all the time, so if that's the case I have been sexually harassed for 20 years."

He also told officers that although the woman had not asked for the kiss, it was not sexual.

The former footballer said during the interview: "I'm not a serious guy, I enjoy life. I've got myself in trouble down the years."

Gascoigne momentarily broke down in tears as he took to the Teesside Crown Court witness stand to deny that the kiss was sexual.

The former midfielder said he had looked to reassure his alleged victim after overhearing someone say of her: "You don't want a photo with her, she's fat and ugly."

Having been branded overweight himself during his playing career, the defendant has an instinct to "automatically protect" those who are called fat, he told jurors.

Gascoigne said that he came and sat next to the woman, telling her "take no notice of what they say" and "listen, you're not fat and ugly".

The former midfielder said that the kiss itself was "just a little peck", that no tongue had been involved and that it was not sexual.

The defendant said he had been kissed constantly, and jurors were shown a montage of images of Gascoigne kissing and being kissed by other people, featuring former footballers Steve Bull, Ian Wright, Ally McCoist and Wayne Rooney, as well as Princess Diana.

He said that, following his arrest, an officer had asked him about taking a selfie together at some stage.

Wearing a blue suit as he gave his evidence, Gascoigne told jurors he had been inclined to protect the woman on the train journey because he had been called fat and struggled with bulimia in his playing days.

Standing with his hands clutched together in front of him, the defendant said that he had not been drinking heavily on the day of the incident, August 20 last year, and that any impression that he had been slurring his words was because he did not have a bridge of teeth in.

Gascoigne took the teeth out during his evidence and demonstrated how different his voice sounded without them in.

When asked why he had not challenged the person who supposedly called his alleged victim "fat and ugly", Gascoigne said: "I do not think it was for me to challenge anybody. I'm not that way inclined."

Prosecutor Mr Mousley asked the defendant whether he had embellished or invented elements of his account to portray his innocence, saying: "You are just making it up as you go along, Mr Gascoigne, aren't you?

"You did not say anything like that when you were interviewed by the police, did you?"

Gascoigne denied that he had lied.

Gascoigne was on the witness stand for just under an hour.

After he finished giving evidence, Michelle Heeley QC read out a character reference from former professional boxer Ricky Hatton MBE.

Mr Hatton said that, after meeting Gascoigne at a charity event, the two had developed a "warm relationship", with the boxer describing the defendant as "larger than life" and a "lively, bubbly person".

The statement said that the ex-footballer would greet the former boxer by bounding up to him, hugging him and kissing him on the cheek, with Mr Hatton saying: "That's the way it's always been.

"I have seen him approach other people, both male and female, in the way that he approaches me."

Ms Heeley also read out a statement from football agent Mel Stein, who described Gascoigne as a "tactile" and friendly person.

Mr Stein said that he had invited the footballer to several bar mitzvahs down the years, saying that on one occasion: "He greeted a rabbi's wife by hugging and kissing her. He apologised when he realised what he had done."

The agent said that Gascoigne's character meant that the incident was immediately laughed off with no hard feelings.

After an hour-long lunch break, jurors heard more character evidence from Jane Couch MBE, a boxer who met Gascoigne at a charity event in Bristol around 10 years ago.

When asked how Gascoigne had acted when they first met, she said: "He just came over, put his arms around me, gave me a kiss."

Describing the ex-footballer as "tactile", she said: "That's what we're like, us northerners, we're quite tactile anyway so I was pleased when he put his arms around me."

Paul Spanjar, who works with Providence, a group providing addiction treatment, said Gascoigne typically gives him a hug and a kiss when they greet one another.