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The star who hid sinister obsession with underage girls

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Gary Glitter, 70, real name Paul Gadd, who has been convicted of one count of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13

Gary Glitter, 70, real name Paul Gadd, who has been convicted of one count of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13

Gary Glitter, 70, real name Paul Gadd, who has been convicted of one count of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13

When Gary Glitter burst onto the music scene in the early 1970s in his silver jumpsuits and towering platforms, his over-the-top image helped to define the very era of glam rock.

For almost 30 years, it seemed as if he could do no wrong as generations of fans continued to delight in his kitsch excess.

But behind his innocent fun-loving public image lay a deeply sinister obsession with underage girls which transformed him from a national icon to a public pariah.

His spectacular fall from grace began in 1997 when his laptop crashed and he took it into his local branch of PC World in Bristol for repair. When the engineer began to look at the laptop’s hard drive, he was appalled. Glitter had subscribed to two Japanese porn sites and had downloaded thousands of images of child abuse.

He was subsequently arrested.

In 1999, he pleaded guilty and was jailed for four months. But even worse was to follow as a number of women came forward to make allegations that he had abused them as children.

He was charged with having sex with an underage girl but was acquitted. The police dropped another investigation after it was ruled there was not enough evidence.

But the child porn conviction was enough to destroy his reputation and after his release from prison he fled to Spain.

After being tracked down by the media, Glitter headed to Cuba where he fathered a child with a woman almost 30 years his junior.

When the Cuban government launched a crackdown on sex tourism, he then fled to Cambodia.

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CONVICTIONS

He lived in relative obscurity for several months until news of his convictions reached Cambodia and he was asked to leave the country.

Glitter slipped across the border into Vietnam, settling in the coastal town of Vung Tau. Towards the end of 2005, however, an expat living in the area became concerned about Glitter’s activities and he tipped off the media.

After attempting to flee, Glitter was detained at Ho Chi Minh airport and eventually charged with committing obscene acts with two girls aged 10 and 11. Following a two-day closed trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to three years with the judge describing his actions as “disgusting and sick”.

After serving two years in the notorious Thu Duc jail, Glitter was released, deported from Vietnam and placed on a flight to London.

He arrived back at Heathrow on August 22, 2008 and was immediately forced to sign the sex offenders register. When Operation Yewtree was launched in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, it was inevitable he would be linked and in October 2012, he became the first person to be arrested.

hnews@herald.ie


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