Gascoigne avoids jail for drink-driving

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The Independent Online

Paul Gascoigne has escaped the prospect of spending Christmas behind bars despite being caught driving while more than four times the legal alcohol limit.

The troubled former England midfielder, 43, was given an eight-week sentence, suspended for a year, at Newcastle magistrates' court. He was also banned from driving for three years and handed an alcohol treatment order.

Police had seen him driving an MG erratically in Jesmond.

Gascoigne admitted drink-driving at a hearing in October and was warned then by District Judge Stephen Earl that he faced 12 weeks in jail. The former Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Lazio, Rangers, Middlesbrough and Everton star was due to be sentenced last month but failed to appear as he had checked himself into a rehab clinic.

A separate drink-drive charge, which Gascoigne denies, will be heard next week at Northallerton magistrates' court.