Gazza warned to stay away from his ex over abusive tweets and calls
Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne has been fined and made the subject of a restraining order after he pleaded guilty to sending a series of abusive tweets, phone calls and messages to his ex-girlfriend.
The 48-year-old also pleaded guilty at Bournemouth Magistrates' Court to assault by beating photographer Steven Shepherd and damaging his glasses after spotting him "secretly" taking shots of him.
Gascoigne admitted harassing Amanda Thomas, his girlfriend of five years, during a two-week period in March following their split at the end of last year.
They met after Gascoigne moved to the Bournemouth area where he underwent rehab treatment for his alcoholism.
Gascoigne, who now lives in Poole, sent foul and threatening messages and tweets accusing Ms Thomas of being a "slag" after she began a new relationship with Andrew Stone, another photographer who works with Mr Shepherd.
The defendant's solicitor, Gavin Harris, told the court that Gascoigne had felt harassed by the photographers, which had caused him to "crack" under the pressure.
District Judge Stephen Nicholls sentenced Gascoigne to a community order for 12 months with a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
He was issued with a restraining order for two years prohibiting him from contacting Ms Thomas or making comments or posting material about her on social media.
Judge Nicholls warned Gascoigne that if he breached the restraining order he could face up to five years in prison.
Gascoigne was also fined £100 (€140) for the harassment and ordered to pay £1,000 (€1,400) compensation to Ms Thomas.
Judge Nicholls told Gascoigne: "The harassment is aggravated by your use of Twitter. You were aware you have many followers on Twitter and as a result of the harassment it spread to many people. You gave no thought to how people would respond."
Lee Turner, prosecuting, told the court the relationship between Gascoigne and Ms Thomas had ended at the end of last year and she had begun a new relationship with Mr Stone.
Last March 16, Gascoigne telephoned Ms Thomas at a post office shop where she works in Bournemouth.
Ms Thomas told him she did not want to be contacted again, but Gascoigne went on to send her text messages on eight occa- sions in the following days.
Mr Turner said: "He refers directly to Ms Thomas, saying she is a 'slag', 'she has done me over, I do not know why she works, she makes money from opening her legs', and he went on to make references about Mr Stone.
"As a result of those Tweets, it encouraged other persons using Twitter which led to further harassment of Ms Thomas."
Mr Turner said Gascoigne turned up at her place of work, "caused a scene" and started shouting her name. He then sent a further Tweet saying: "If they do not sack the cow I am going to sue the post office."
Gascoigne was later arrested after Ms Thomas made a complaint to the police.
The assault against photographer Mr Shepherd happened as Gascoigne was signing autographs and having his picture taken with fans at a cafe in Bournemouth last June 16.
He confronted Mr Shepherd and demanded he hand over his camera's memory card, causing him a one-inch graze to his head and damage to his prescription glasses.
Mr Turner said: "Mr Shepherd says after he took some photos, he was walking away and suddenly something struck him on the head."
Mr Shepherd handed over two memory cards and went to report the incident to the police.