Stop harassing Gazza, says clinic
The rehabilitation clinic treating Paul Gascoigne has urged the press to stop "harassing" the troubled former footballer - claiming that media attention is adding to his "current anxieties".
The Providence Projects, which is treating the star for alcoholism and depression, said photographers and reporters have been camped outside its South Coast clinic every day since he entered rehab.
Clinic officials claimed the unwelcome interference was damaging Gascoigne's ongoing rehabilitation and "could have a serious negative effect on his whole future".
The plea came after the one-time World Cup star missed his sentencing for drink-driving, after voluntarily checking himself into the rehab clinic.
Paul Spanjar, treatment director from The Providence Projects, said: "This is as much of a plea as it is a statement. This damaging interference in Paul's ongoing rehabilitation could have a serious negative effect on Paul's whole future."
He added: "Paul is working incredibly hard in treatment, focusing purely on the critical battle against his illness. Unfortunately, he is constantly the subject of harassment by the press and photographers. We arrive in treatment each morning with photographers camped outside, taking pictures of both Paul as well as other current patients.
"When being driven by the counselling team to various appointments, he is being followed and harassed contributing to his current anxieties. Due to the nature of this treatment, aspects of the programme are conducted within the community and constant unwarranted attention from the press could be a potential cause of harm to both Paul and the other patients, who are concerned that their anonymity is being severely compromised."
Gascoigne, 43, failed attend a sentencing hearing at Newcastle Magistrates' Court on November 11 after admitting driving while four times the limit.
District Judge Stephen Earl adjourned the case until December 9 after hearing that the footballer had checked into The Providence Projects clinic. He warned that the former England star could be jailed for 12 weeks and asked for a report to be prepared by the Probation Service.
Mr Spanjar said Gascoigne was "desperate" to overcome the drink problems which had recently come back to haunt him. "His relationship with alcohol has led him down a very dark path," he added.