A scaffolder who left Paul Gascoigne with a fractured skull following a 'cowardly attack' at an East London hotel has been jailed for assault.

Lewis Beard, 27, kicked the ex-England player in the small of his back as Gascoigne stood at the top of a flight of stairs arguing with someone at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch hotel. The 50-year-old tumbled to the bottom of the stairs where he was left motionless by Beard and his girlfriend who left the scene.

Eye witness James Eschauzier told Mail Online the former football star was 'goaded' by two men in their 30s after Gascoigne told them their team, Scunthorpe United, were rubbish.

Recalling the incident he said: "I had a drink with him before the guys turned up, he seemed okay. Then there were about five or six people crowding around him and he was buying people drinks and chatting.

"He was drinking loads of gin and cocktails. In the hour I was there he had three gin and tonics. We spoke about George Best and he had some good things to say about him, I didn't have an argument with him myself.

"There were lots of drinks exchanged between everybody, he was in a good mood. Then two guys started provoking him, they were talking about the World Cup in 1990 and they were blaming him for losing. He told them: 'You don't know what you're talking about'. The fracas took place outside but it was brewing in the bar."

Following the assault Gascoigne claimed he was left with a fractured skull and two broken fingers after being "kicked down the stairs".

District Judge Paul Clarke told Beard: "You must have known that kicking him in that cowardly fashion was extremely dangerous."

Following the sentencing at Stratford Magistrates' Court on Friday, Detective Constable Lee Jackson said: "The victim required hospital treatment after he was knocked down some stairs at the hotel by Beard. Despite initially denying the assault, he had no option but to plead guilty.

"The custodial sentence passed on by the courts shows that violent behaviour will not be tolerated."

Beard was sentenced to 23 weeks' imprisonment after pleading guilty to attacking the former footballer last December. The 27-year-old was also ordered to pay £7,800 compensation and £650 court costs.

Gascoigne, who has battled alcoholism for more than 20 years, returned to rehab after the attack in a bid to stay "alcohol free".

In September, Gascoigne was fined £1,000 after making a racist joke about a black security guard during a live show in Wolverhampton.