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article imageThe Leveson Inquiry — Ex-wife of soccer star Gazza testifies

By Alexander Baron     Nov 23, 2011 in Politics
London - Yesterday, the Leveson Inquiry continued with testimony from, among others, Sheryl Gascoigne, the former wife of former professional soccer player Paul Gascoigne. She was cross-examined in some detail.
Sheryl Gascoigne was the first witness to testify to the Leveson Inquiry, Wednesday morning.
In 1991, Paul Gascoigne - Gazza, as he was affectionately known - was a high profile professional football player when he began his relationship with his future wife, Sheryl.
At the Inquiry, the former Mrs Gascoigne - who retains her married name - said she was thrust into the public eye at this time when she was initially portrayed by the press as a moneygrabber, primarily because she was a single mother (a divorcee), with two children.
The couple married in 1996, but the marriage didn't last. It is acknowledged that Gascoigne beat Sheryl during their relationship; his problems with the demon drink were played out on the public stage at some length at the time.
Cross-examined, Sheryl Gascoigne admitted she sold the rights to her wedding to a magazine, but said this was out of her hands, though she agreed that she was and is a public figure to some extent.
She complained that on one occasion she was photographed sunbathing topless on a private beach.
After their divorce, she was subjected to a barrage of defamatory articles, to which initially she didn't respond, on legal advice - if she did, she would provoke more coverage.
It has to be said, she was no shrinking violet, and published a book herself. Stronger: My Life Surviving Gazza is currently being offered for sale on Amazon. The title speaks for itself. She complained that most of all, articles that were written about her were grossly and wilfully inaccurate.
She argued that the libel laws were ineffective for two reasons: one being that bringing an action for defamation was extremely expensive for ordinary people; the other is that the opposite applies to the press, they have deep pockets, and any cost order or punishment imposed on them has to be meaningful. (For confirmation of this, click here).
The Inquiry will continue today with in camera evidence from an anonymous witness, the actress Sienna Miller, and Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
Sherly Gascoigne testifies to the Leveson Inquiry  November 23  2011.
Sherly Gascoigne testifies to the Leveson Inquiry, November 23, 2011.
The Leveson Inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice  November 23  2011. Sheryl Gascoigne is being cro...
The Leveson Inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice, November 23, 2011. Sheryl Gascoigne is being cross-examined.
The Leveson Inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice  November 23  2011.
The Leveson Inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice, November 23, 2011.
Brian Leveson presiding over his inquiry.
Brian Leveson presiding over his inquiry.
More about sheryl gascoigne, leveson inquiry, Libel, Defamation
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