Thug jailed for kicking Gazza down flight of stairs



A thug who kicked troubled football legend Paul Gascoigne down a flight of stairs to leave him with a fractured skull and broken teeth has been jailed for 23 weeks.

The former England star got in a slanging match with an unknown man and is seen on CCTV ‘flinging’ his jacket off at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, north London.

As Gascoigne stood at the top of a flight of stairs remonstrating with the man, scaffolder Lewis Beard, 27, kicked him in the small of the back, Stratford Magistrates’ Court heard.

Gascoigne, who won 57 caps for England, was sent flying down the stairs and lay motionless at the bottom for several minutes.

He suffered a fractured skull and had six teeth knocked out after Beard’s ‘cowardly’ attack sent him face first down the stairs, the court heard.

Gascoigne said he was now ‘too scared’ to come back to London and had shut himself away in Newcastle using alcohol to cope.

Beard was due to stand trial but admitted common assault.

Prosecutor Katie Weiss said: ‘On the 27 December at 6pm Mr Gascoigne was the Ace Hotel on Shoreditch High Street.

‘He was standing there by the stairs interacting with members of the public who were having photos taken with him.

‘A female approached Mr Gascoigne and pulling on his arm, he turned to face her and then turned away.

‘She then turned to a male she was with and seemed distressed and was complaining about something.’

Ms Weiss said a ‘verbal argument’ kicked off.

‘Mr Gascoigne walked towards the stairs and was standing at the top of the stairs waiting when the male defendant kicked him from behind with the sole of his foot,’ she said.

‘He fell down the stairs face first and eventually landed on his back.’

Ms Weiss said that Beard and his girlfriend then calmly walked out the hotel as other members of the public rushed to help him.

She said he was left with a cut to his hand, his right ear, a cut on the back of his head and a dislocated little finger.

Gascoigne was taken to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

In a victim impact statement Gazza said: ‘I had a fractured skull and had 15 stitches on the top of my head and stitches on my ear.

‘My teeth were damaged and six were knocked out from the bottom row.’

Gascoigne said he had suffered psychological damage and had not been to London since the attack as he was ‘too scared’.

‘This is the first time anything like this has happened to me, I have not been able to sleep.’

He said he used to play golf and go fishing regularly but has not been able to go since it happened.

Gascoigne said he has ‘gone back to Newcastle and shut myself away’.

He has had to cancel his regular meet and greet events with the public and turned down photo-shoots and TV appearances.

He said he was ‘using alcohol as a result of being assaulted’ to cope with it.

Gascoigne asked the court for £7,800 compensation as that how much it cost to get his teeth fixed.

On the day of the assault witness Alvin Carpio Tweeted: ‘Gazza has just been kicked down the stairs by a guy whose friend got slapped by him. He really isn’t in a good place.

‘It’s a sad state. He’s been spitting, making racist remarks & groping women, all while throwing around £ notes.’

Witnesses at the time said the former Newcastle, Spurs and Rangers midfielder, who has long-battled alcoholism, appeared ‘very drunk.’

But Gascoigne said he only had two ‘very small’ drinks on the way down to London.

He made a brief appearance in court, wearing a blue suit and looking healthy and trim.

He was thanked by the judge for coming to court even though he did not have to give evidence following Beard’s last minute guilty plea.

Gascoigne responded: ‘You’re welcome’.

‘I appreciate that sir, thank you very much.’

Beard said he had been drinking with Gascoigne in the hotel bar earlier that day.

The part-time scaffolder, who lives at home with his parents, has previous convictions for causing actual bodily harm, common assault, and possession of cocaine.

He accepted he ‘dealt with the situation in completely the wrong way’ and was ‘genuinely and truly sorry’.

Beard said he had a ‘passion for sport’ and he was ‘mortified’ about what he had done because Gascoigne was ‘one of his idols’.

He had told police officers he had only given Gazza a ‘light kick to get his attention’ and then claimed it was in self-defence.

District Judge Paul Clarke said the altercation had nothing to do with Beard and self defence had ‘nothing whatsoever to do with it’.

He said Beard had only pleaded guilty ‘at the doors of the court’.

‘There was an altercation between Mr Gascoigne and the other man at the top of the flight of stairs, I am quite satisfied that it had nothing to do with this defendant and his attack on Mr Gascoigne was violent and unprovoked,’ he said.

‘He cowardly kicked him in the back with no warning of what was going to happen.’

‘It propelled Mr Gascoigne right to the bottom of the flight of stairs.

‘He lay on the ground motionless for quite a while before receiving first aid.’

‘My view is a custodial sentence in this case is inevitable.’

Judge Clarke ordered a pre-sentence report but warned Beard he was facing up to six months in jail.

Beard, of (15) The Grove, Ickenham, Middlesex admitted common assault.

He was later jailed for 23 weeks for the attack on Gascoigne.

The court heard he had been on a seven-hour booze and cocaine bender when he kicked the former midfielder down the stairs.

Emma Stuart-Smith, representing Beard, said he medical evidence does not match the extent of the injuries Gascoigne claims to have suffered.

She added Beard is now full of remorse.

But District Judge Paul Clarke did not believe a word of it and sentenced him to 23 weeks immediate custody and ordered him to pay the £7,800 compensation.

Judge Clarke said Beard had attacked Gascoigne from behind and was not sorry for his actions or the injuries he caused.

‘Mr Gascoigne was taken totally by surprise, he had no opportunity to save himself, no opportunity to break his fall.

‘There he was lying on the floor.

‘I am going to pause now and just consider submissions on remorse, have you shown any remorse, in my view absolutely not.’

‘You left the scene, left Mr Gascoigne lying there, and according to other people, in their eyes may have been motionless for some time.

‘You did not help him or discover how serious his injuries were.

‘I do not believe that there is any real indication here that the remorse you say you have in relation to the incident is anything other than superficial.’

Judge Clarke told Beard he must take ‘responsibility for your decisions’ and by making
Gascoigne come to court had made him re-live the incident unnecessarily because of an ‘unjustified’ not guilty plea of self-defence.

He said Gazza had ‘no doubt’ suffered ‘long term’ physical and mental effects from the ‘cowardly’ attack.

‘Your actions were deliberate, violent and in my judgement unprovoked,’ he said.

Judge Clarke said he would have sentenced Beard to six months but reduced it by three weeks for his very late guilty plea.

‘Law forbids me considering anything more than that,’ he said.

‘The sentence I impose is 23 weeks imprisonment.’

‘I do not believe your remorse is genuine.’

Beard will serve half that sentence before being released on licence.

He was also ordered to pay the full £7,800 compensation asked for by Gazza and pay £650 costs.

Judge Clarke gave Beard nine months to pay the £8,450 in full.

‘If you are remorseful you will be more than happy to pay the compensation,’ he said.

Beard waved to his sister in the public gallery as he was led down to the cells.


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