Sheryl Gascoigne had to put house up for sale to fund legal fees

 

Paul Gascoigne's ex-wife Sheryl had to put her house on the market to fund a libel action against a newspaper, the Leveson Inquiry has heard.

Calling for the system to be changed so it was not prohibitively expensive to sue for defamation, Mrs Gascoigne said she was told she had to find £200,000 to pursue her claim.

The former England footballer's ex-wife also said paparazzi photographers followed her car and forced her to crawl around on her hands and knees at home to avoid having her picture taken.

But Mrs Gascoigne - who began a relationship with the player in 1991, married him five years later and divorced him in 1998 - told the inquiry she accepted some of the unwanted media intention "went with the territory".

She put her house up for sale in summer last year to fund her legal costs in a claim against the Sunday Mirror, although the case was settled just before it sold, the hearing was told.

"I was told that I needed to come up with £200,000 to go into court," she said.

"So where was I going to find that amount of money? All my money is in my home, so that is the only way I knew how to locate that. I think that's the problem.

"I think the Sunday Mirror were hoping that a single parent with three children wouldn't perhaps have the backbone to go all the way and would be scared off at the prospect of having to find that sort of money."

Mrs Gascoigne said at one point, having moved into a new home with curtains that did not close properly, she had to crawl around on her hands and knees to avoid being photographed.

"It's awful to be followed every time you go anywhere and you're having to lose photographers, but I never complained too much about it because it kind of went with the territory," she said.

Mrs Gascoigne, who had two children from a previous relationship when she became involved with the footballer, was asked why the press portrayed her as a "money-grabber" who was "at the heart of Paul's problems".

"I don't know, you would have to ask them. I have no idea why they would say that," she replied.

"Maybe because I was a single mother with two children, maybe it was just I was an easy target."

Questioned why she did not take action over the articles written about her until 2009, she said: "I was led to believe by certain people that you didn't take action on newspapers. You would never win so you just don't do it."

Mrs Gascoigne made one complaint about a newspaper story published before she married in 1996 via the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) but did not succeed in getting redress.

"I just didn't get anywhere. It was like, 'We can't do anything about it'. I got that opinion from a lot of people, that the PCC was a waste of time," she told the inquiry.

She successfully sued a number of newspapers about articles published in 2009, although she was not happy about the prominence of the apologies that were printed as a result.

Calling for a "deterrent" to papers against publishing falsehoods, she said: "I don't understand why when you sue a paper, and it's blatantly obvious that they don't have anything and they completely fabricated a story, you still are out of pocket."

Mrs Gascoigne also told the inquiry she developed a close friendship with Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of the News of the World and former chief executive of News International.

She said she had not seen Mrs Brooks since 2000/01 but added: "I would not have a bad word to say about her personally."

PA

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Finance - Media

£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...

Business Development Manager

£25000 - £27000 per annum + Bonus: Sauce Recruitment: Within your role as Busi...

IT Graduate

£15 - 20k: Guru Careers: We are looking for an eager IT Graduate / Technology ...

Ad Director / Sales Director

£55 - 65k + 25% Y1 OTE + Fantastic Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an e...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?