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Drink-driver Gazza avoids jail term

Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne has avoided an immediate jail term for driving while more than four times the legal alcohol limit.

The troubled 43-year-old ex-midfielder was given an eight-week sentence, suspended for a year, when he appeared at Newcastle Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Following the hearing, his lawyer Stephen Andrews said Gazza was relieved and that it was a "good result".

Gascoigne was arrested in the city after police spotted him driving an MG erratically. He was found to have 142mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath - the legal limit is 35mg - when he was tested in the early hours of October 8.

He admitted drink-driving at a hearing in October. On that occasion, District Judge Stephen Earl told him that 12 weeks in jail was a possibility given the circumstances.

Gascoigne was due to be sentenced last month but failed to appear as he had checked himself into a rehab clinic on the south coast.

On Thursday, Judge Earl said the seriousness of the offence crossed the custody threshold, but he passed a suspended sentence after hearing Gascoigne was responding well to treatment at the Providence Project clinic.

"You are not heavily convicted and you have nothing currently on your record of a similar nature," he said.

But the sentence does not signal the end of Gascoigne's troubles.

A separate drink-drive charge, which he denies, will be heard next week at Northallerton Magistrates' Court.


From Belfast Telegraph