Gary Glitter finally headed to Britain

August 21, 2008 4:37:12 PM PDT
Disgraced rocker Gary Glitter left Thailand for London, a British Foreign Office spokesman confirmed, ending a two-day odyssey after his release from a Vietnamese prison where he served time for molesting children.Glitter has twice been refused entry into Thailand and once turned away from Hong Kong since he was deported from Vietnam Tuesday.

The former rocker, a British citizen, had originally been booked to fly to London on a Thai Airways flight out of Ho Chi Minh City.

But during a layover in Bangkok, he complained of an earache and refused to continue on.

Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, flew to Hong Kong on Wednesday night after Thai authorities barred him from entering the country. Hong Kong immigration officials then refused him entry after interviewing him, the British spokesman said. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with official policy.

When Glitter arrived back in Bangkok on Thursday, he was again denied entry under a law that allows those convicted of child sex abuse in a foreign country to be barred, according to Lt. Gen.

Chatchawal Suksomchit, chief of Thailand's immigration police.

Glitter was finally on his way to London after two days of shuttling, the Foreign Office spokesman said. He refused to say when Glitter was expected to arrive.

Glitter, 64, was convicted in March 2006 of committing "obscene acts with children." He served two years and nine months of a three-year sentence, which was reduced for good behavior.

The incidents involved two girls, ages 10 and 11, from the southern coastal city of Vung Tau. The verdict said he molested the girls repeatedly at his seaside villa in Vung Tau and in nearby hotels. Glitter proclaimed his innocence.

One Thai immigration officer said Vietnam and Interpol had asked Thailand not to admit Glitter. The official spoke on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Glitter's fall from grace began in 1997, when he took his computer to a repair shop and an employee there discovered he had downloaded thousands of hardcore pornographic images of children.

Two years later, British authorities convicted him of possession of child pornography, and Glitter served half of a four-month jail term.

Glitter hit the front pages of Britain's newspapers Wednesday.

In an editorial headlined "Who'd want him?" the conservative Daily Mail said "no country in its right mind would want this pervert at large on its soil."

In Britain, Glitter will be met at the airport by police officers and be placed on a sex offenders' registry, which already lists about 30,000 people.

In his 1970s heyday, Glitter performed in shiny jumpsuits, silver platform shoes and bouffant wigs. He sold 18 million records and recorded a string of British top-10 hits.

His most successful song, the crowd-pleasing anthem "Rock and Roll (Part 2)," cracked the top 10 in the United States.