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Drink driving: Paul Gascoigne avoids jail

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Former football star Paul Gascoigne was spared a jail sentence at Newcastle magistrates court for drink driving this week.

The 43-year-old received an eight-week sentence, suspended for a year, after pleading guilty to consuming more than four times the UK drink driving limit, then driving his sports car erratically around the city of Newcastle.

Gascoigne admitted the drink driving offence at a hearing on October 2010 and was warned he could face up to 12 weeks in jail.

District Judge, Stephen Earl, took into account Gascoigne's progress at a rehab centre and deemed his ruling to serve the defendant a suspended sentence as "fair". The judge took into account wayward star's regular attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

Gascoigne was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to attend a six-month drink programme as part of his drink driving penalty.

The ex-Newcastle United, Rangers, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesborough and Lazio footballer will also face a separate drink driving charge at Northallerton magistrates' court next week. He denies the charge.

He is accused of driving a van while more than four times the legal alcohol limit on 7 February in North Yorkshire. He is also charged with drink-driving without insurance or a licence.

Gascoigne has struggled with alcoholism for over a decade and in 2008 was sectioned under the Mental Health Act following reports he was acting strangely in a hotel in England.

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