Former England international Paul Gascoigne denied claims that he injected cocaine and instead insists he was “just getting the lady a syringe”, court documents have shown.
The star is suing the Daily Express and the Daily Star following a series of stories published on 13 and 14 February in both papers and their respective websites for defamation and invasion of privacy.
According to court documents, Gascoigne is seeking at least £25,000 in damages for defamation and misuse of private information.
Lawyers for alcoholic Gascoigne admit that he suffered a significant relapse and was drinking heavily in the months prior to February 2013. They claim that a man called Shane Abbott exploited the footballer and filmed him while drunk inside the star’s home when he had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The court documents claim that Gascoigne was clearly “extremely drunk” and “incoherent” and the fact he kept £25,000 in cash under his bed would make him a target for thieves.
According to the High Court documents: “The claimant is a retired very well known international footballer. He is an alcoholic. He has had problems with using cocaine but not since 12 July 2010.”
The court documents said he lapsed in the months prior to February 2013 and required additional treatment for alcoholism.
“During the claimant’s recent lapse into consuming alcohol his life became chaotic and he mixed with drug addicts and alcoholics who would on occasion exploit him for asking him for money.
“They would often use his home. He was also prey to people with neither affliction but who simply wanted to exploit him. One such person was Shane Abbott.”
Gascoigne’s legal team denied that the former Tottenham Hostpur player was ever Abbott’s friend or flatmate.
“Sometime before 4 February 2013, Mr Abbott was in the claimant’s home. He filmed the claimant whilst he was extremely drunk and in an incoherent and distressed state. Mr Abbott did not have permission to film the claimant. As Mr Abbott must have realised, the claimant was unaware that he was being filmed and was not in a fit state to consent being filmed. Any person who watched the film would have also realised this.”
Gascgoine’s legal team deny that the former midfielder can be heard calling out for a syringe to inject cocaine, claiming he was speaking “drunken nonsense”.
The document claims: “In fact the claimant can be heard on the video saying: ‘Out of me ‘ead. Just getting the lady a syringe.’ Given that no one else appears to have been present in his flat, this statement is nothing more than drunken nonsense, as the Daily Star journalists must have or ought to have appreciated prior to taking the decision to publish the video and the information taken from it.
“Given the state that the claimant was in at the time the video was made, it was evidence of nothing but the claimant’s state of extreme alcoholic intoxication.”
Gascoigne’s legal team dismissed suggestions that Abbott had been acting “altruistically” by filming the footballer and causing him to return to rehabilitation.
“The claimant cannot recall being shown the video at all prior to having his attention drawn to it on the Daily Star website. It played no role in his decision in February 2013 to go to the United States to go into a rehabilitation programme. The claimant is extremely upset that a tawdry exercise in humiliating and exploiting him has been presented in such a way.”
The court documents maintain that Abbott was never a friend or flatmate of Gascoigne and “was intrinsically unreliable (particularly if he was paid or offered a similar reward for the information which he supplied)”.
The legal team said: “The persons who made the decision to publish had concluded that the defendant could ‘get away’ with publishing whatever it liked about the claimant because he was in such a bad state that he would not be able to take action in regard to the flagrant misuse of his private information and the publication of the libel complained of.”
The documents said that the revelation that Gascoigne keeps large sums of cash under his bed made it more likely that his home “will be burgled” and he has been “put to great worry as a result of this increased risk”.