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Richard Vogel/AP
Gary Glitter

Gary Glitter Back in Britain

August 22, 2008 05:10 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The former glam rocker and notorious pedophile, who has been banned from most of Southeast Asia, arrived in London on Friday.

Glitter Returns Home

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Gary Glitter arrived at Heathrow airport on Friday morning and was met by police and a "hostile" press, reported Reuters.

Glitter, who became famous in the 70s for glam rock numbers such as "Rock and Roll" (parts 1 and 2), has spent the past three years in a Vietnamese jail after being convicted of sexually abusing two girls, ages 11 and 12.

The Telegraph reported that he did not appear as scheduled at a court hearing on Friday. District Judge David Simpson said that Glitter had "demonstrated his desire to avoid the jurisdiction of this court" by failing to appear at his hearing.

Glitter's lawyer, David Corker, failed in a bid to keep his client off the sex offenders' registry, which will restrict his movements for the rest of his life. Corker says that his client will appeal his listing.

"He tells me that his trial in Vietnam—a country which has been condemned by virtually every organization concerned with justice and human rights as being a system of unfair justice and political trials—was a charade, was a travesty of justice," Corker said, according to Reuters.

Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, said in June from jail that he plans to relaunch his career with the release of a new album once he gets out of jail.

Reactions: Child advocates praise Glitter's expulsion

Child rights activists say that Glitter's exit from the region is a sign that authorities are finally taking action to protect children from Western and Eastern pedophiles. The U.S. and several European countries have recently passed laws making it easier for them to prosecute their citizens who commit sexual crimes while overseas.

Glitter, who has become a symbol of Southeast Asia's longstanding problems with sex tourism, has been called "the world's most unwanted man" by British tabloids. In recent years, he has been deported by Vietnam and Cambodia, and refused entry into Thailand and Hong Kong.

"It's sending a very clear message out to sex abusers and potential sex abusers that they are no longer going to be able to get away with hopping from one Southeast Asian country to the next in the hope of having easy access to children and impunity from justice," said Mark Capaldi, the deputy director of End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, to The New York Times.

Key Player: Gary Glitter

Paul Francis Gadd was born on May 8, 1944 in Banbury, Oxfordshire. He gained fame after entering the glam rock scene in the 1970s and took the stage name Gary Glitter in 1972. His breakthrough single "Rock and Roll" (parts 1 and 2), which is still played in sports stadiums around the world, topped the charts in the U.S. His top 40 hits in the UK include: "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I am)"; "I Love You Love Me Love" and "Always Yours." He sold more than 18 million records in the 70s, before the decline of glam rock led him to bankruptcy. In 1999, British authorities discovered child pornography on his computer's hard drive and he was sentenced to four months in prison. He later left England for Spain, Cambodia and Vietnam. Cambodia permanently expelled him in 2002. In 2006, after being accused of abusing two underaged Vietnamese girls, he denied any wrongdoing and accused the media of conspiring against him: "I haven't done anything—I am innocent. It is a conspiracy by you know who," he told The BBC.

Opinion & Analysis: 'His Life is Destroyed. So Why Hound Gary Glitter?'

Writer Matthew Norman urges readers and the press to have compassion for Glitter: "While many of us have been perfectly content to forget all about Mr. Glitter, the editors of our red top tabloids palpably have missed him and the obvious circulation-boosting potential that travels hand in hand with persecuting a fallen celebrity. More than that, from the coverage of the last few days you could be forgiven for assuming that their conscious intent, if and when the presently stateless glam rocker is back again, is to drive him to suicide."

Video Link: 'Rock and Roll' (Part 2)

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