Gazza avoids prison term

WENN.com

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

Embattled former England soccer star Paul Gascoigne has escaped a jail sentence for drinking and driving, despite angering a judge by skipping a court date last month.

The fallen sportsman, who has battled alcohol problems for many years, was arrested in February on suspicion of being drunk while in charge of a vehicle.

He pleaded guilty and the presiding judge warned him he faced a possible 12-week custodial sentence.

Despite the threat, he missed the sentencing hearing in November because he had checked into a rehab centre, prompting District Judge Stephen Earl to speak out about his "concerns" for the star.

When he appeared in court on Thursday the judge decided to spare Gascoigne from jail and handed him a eight-week suspended prison term and a three-year driving ban.

Gascoigne was also ordered to attend treatment for alcohol addiction.

He will be back in court next week to face a separate drinking-and-driving charge stemming from October.


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