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With the disgraced rock star set to leave prison within weeks and victims lining up to sue…Can paedophile Gary Glitter hang on secret to his fortune?
Some believed he would die in prison. Others, including his victims, must have hoped he would.
But Gary Glitter survived and now, aged 78 — with grey goatee beard and wisps of straggly grey hair framing his bald head — he is about to be freed from HMP The Verne, a jail for sex offenders in Portland, Dorset.
Having already completed half of his 16-year sentence for monstrous crimes against young girls, he will be released, Ministry of Justice sources confirmed, within a ‘matter of weeks.’ What next?
London, probably, to the gilded streets of W1, where he still has an apartment and where he can disappear into the anonymity of life in the capital.
Gary Glitter survived and now, aged 78 — with grey goatee beard and wisps of straggly grey hair framing his bald head
Few people, after all, would recognise him today, sans wig, if they passed him on the pavement. Younger readers might never have heard of Gary Glitter.
Yet to his most fanatical fans during his pomp in the glam rock 1970s, when he stomped around the stage in sparkling silver jumpsuits — revealing a forest of chest hair — towering platform heels, and a signature Concorde-shaped ‘rug’, he was bigger than Elvis, playing to stadium crowds and racking up 12 consecutive Top Ten singles and 18 million record sales.
For much of the next two decades, on campuses up and down the country, ‘Glittermania’ endured.
He was used to advertise Heinz soup and British Rail and Oasis paid tribute to him by borrowing his famous lyric (‘Hello, hello, it’s good to be back’) on the opening track of their second album.
Gary Glitter was the soundtrack to a thousand school discos.
But the music stopped one day in 1997 when he took his Toshiba laptop to be repaired at a branch of PC World in Bristol, not far from a cottage he owned in Somerset. A library of child pornography was discovered on the hard drive.
‘I want to put it all behind me and live my life,’ he declared after being given four months for possessing thousands of indecent images of youngsters.
That life took him on a tour of South-East Asia, where he continued to indulge his unhealthy predilections in each country he stopped at — Cambodia, Thailand and finally Vietnam — where he faced the prospect of being charged with child rape, a crime that carries the death penalty.
The dirt-poor families of his two victims, two girls aged 11 and 12, however, were each paid £1,500 by Glitter’s lawyer in return for signing documents that reduced the charges to child molestation which culminated in him being jailed for three years (he served two) in 2006.
He was the first foreigner to face trial for sex crimes in postwar Vietnam. His spectacular fall from grace — from pantomime popstar to paedophile — was not yet complete, though.
On his return to Britain, after being deported from Vietnam, he became the first person arrested by detectives from Operation Yewtree, the Metropolitan Police investigation launched in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
In 2015, he was given 16 years for historical offences against three girls, aged eight to 13, at the height of his fame in the 1970s and 1980s when he preyed on his vulnerable victims, who assumed no one would have believed their testimony over a celebrity.
Few people, after all, would recognise him today, sans wig, if they passed him on the pavement. Younger readers might never have heard of Gary Glitter
Two of the girls were aged 12 and 13 when they were invited backstage to his dressing room, and deliberately isolated from their mothers. He’d crept into his youngest victim’s bed and tried to rape her, in 1975.
This is the disturbing past of Gary Glitter (real name Paul Gadd) who will soon walk out of HMP The Verne a free man, albeit under strict restrictions which could include being electronically tagged and undergoing regular polygraph tests. Polygraphs — or lie detectors —have been successfully used by the Probation Service in the management of convicted sex offenders since 2014.
Glitter was living in a luxury top-floor flat in a Victorian red-brick mansion block near Baker Street when he was arrested in an early morning raid nearly a decade ago.
It was the address he gave when he first appeared at the magistrates court, and there’s nothing to suggest he’s not still the owner today. ‘I have been here for eight years and that flat has been empty all the time,’ a resident at the prestigious address said this week.
The other 223 apartments, he told us, are all believed to be occupied or up for sale — but not Glitter’s residence which has remained vacant, suggesting perhaps that his old neighbour could return here like he did when his dark side was first exposed on his laptop.
The very comfortable property, worth an estimated £2 million, is not in his name which conveniently disappeared from any publicly available documentation shortly before he was jailed in Vietnam.
It is owned, nominally, at least, by a limited company controlled by a former associate.
On paper, in other words, Gary Glitter is conveniently ‘penniless’.
He will be only too aware that the recriminations from his crimes could rumble on for many years. In 2019 the High Court ordered another British paedophile, Douglas Slade, to pay £127,000 to five boys he abused in the Philippines between 2009 and 2015. He had been jailed for 24 years in 2016.
The case was spearheaded by the Preda Foundation, a charitable organisation based in the country, which is hoping to launch a similar damages claim on behalf of one of Glitter’s victims from Vietnam.
Now 29, she was ten when Glitter sexually assaulted her at the seaside villa he was staying in. Her mother was Glitter’s cleaner.
For much of the next two decades, on campuses up and down the country, ‘Glittermania’ endured
Speaking from Olongapo City in the Philippines, Father Shay Cullen, a Catholic priest from Ireland who runs Preda, said: ‘We are ready to fight her corner in London and I will be going to Vietnam in a few weeks to speak to her because she has now agreed to pursue the case in the UK. She is very poor and her mother is sick.
‘They are both living in dire circumstances.’
‘I think Glitter still has a lot of money and has stashed it away,’ Father Shay added.
We know about the Marylebone apartment, but what else is there?
For a start, Glitter has a substantial private pension to draw from, a close relative said.
She told how, after he was forced to leave Vietnam (following his conviction for child molestation), she was instructed to send monthly sums of up to $700 dollars (£575) from the pot to his Vietnamese lover and ‘fixer’, who sourced underage girls for him — ‘hush’ money to keep her ‘sweet’.
Even up until he went on trial at Southwark Crown Court eight years ago, Glitter was enjoying a sybaritic lifestyle, the relative said, with a team of bodyguards and professional drivers who ferried him around in a big 4X4. Glitter failed to mention that when giving evidence, saying he had to sell the rights to his songs to pay his legal costs.
But he could still be making a tidy sum from streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. ‘Digital [performance] royalties from streaming tend to go to the songwriter, said Amy Pruett, an intellectual property lawyer at U.S. law firm Williams Mullen.
Glitter, who co-wrote many of his hits with Mike Leander, currently has 723,464 monthly listeners on Spotify. True, Spotify only pays a tiny percentage per stream but 723,464 streams equals $2,300 dollars or £1,900 a month.
Glitter’s back catalogue is also available on Apple, which does not disclose monthly listening figures for artists.
Some of his money is believed to be going to Cuba, a location which occupies an important place in Glitter’s past and present.
He first turned up on the island in the 1990s when he became the subject of the child pornography investigation in the UK, but had not yet been charged and there were suspicions that he might never return.
It was here that I managed to track him down. I’d been dispatched, along with photographer Mark Richards, to find Gary, and it took us nearly a month to locate his apartment on the first floor of a two-storey mansion, a short stroll from Havana’s famous seafront boulevard, the Malecon.
From a vantage point overlooking the building on the other side of the road, we could see Glitter spread out on a sunbed — with his bouffant wig pegged into a ponytail. There was no mistaking him, even from a distance.
Yet, when I knocked on the door asking to speak to him, a young woman came to the balcony and pretended not to understand me, even though she spoke good English. She knew I was a journalist.
The 78-year-old is reportedly at HMP The Verne (pictured) on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, on a vulnerable person wing. Having already completed half of his 16-year sentence for monstrous crimes against young girls, he will be released, Ministry of Justice sources confirmed, within a ‘matter of weeks’
Woman who was raped aged ten by Gary Glitter reveals she wept after learning of the pop paedophile’s imminent release from prison after just eight years behind bars
The woman, Yudenia Sosa Martinez, a former farm girl, would bear Glitter a son whom she named after him. Gary Jnr is now 21.
A keen skateboarder and amateur tattoo artist, Gary Jnr left Cuba within the last year, according to social media posts; he worked in a tattoo parlour in Moscow (called Cuba Ink) and is currently in the Canary Islands.
Neighbours say he is in ‘communication’ with his father but they have never met. Glitter gave his mother £20,000, a fortune in Communist Cuba, to buy the flat where I first encountered her, and he is believed to still support her and Gary Jnr.
Gary Jnr appears to be thanking his father in an Instagram post a few days ago. ‘Thanks to all who were present and to those who took care of me from afar along the way,’ he wrote.
Glitter left Cuba before Gary Jnr was born and has been in and out of prison almost all his son’s life. It’s difficult to see how father and son will be reunited: offenders on licence, and particularly those also on the sex offenders register, must — as a ‘minimum’ — request permission from their probation officer before travelling.
Given his track record, it is impossible to see how Glitter will ever be allowed out of the country again, not for the foreseeable future anyway.
Today, he faces an isolated existence, like all paedophiles, with few friends and no family.
His two adult children, Paul and Sarah, from his failed marriage in the 1960s have disowned him and his former brother-in-law once said he deserved to be executed.
‘He’s caused so much distress, pain and suffering,’ said Ramon Murton, the brother of Glitter’s ex-wife Ann, after Glitter was jailed for the third time in 2015.
Glitter blew kisses to the packed public gallery at Southwark Crown Court as the guilty verdicts were read out. As he was led away, he turned to a friend in the gallery and indicated with his finger that the jury was crazy. He had denied all the allegations. All three of his victims sobbed giving evidence.
In the past, one person Glitter could always count on was his business partner and close friend Gordon Buchanan, who offered Glitter sanctuary at his home in Hampshire after he was kicked out of Vietnam in disgrace all those years ago. It resulted in a group of angry locals turning up at his detached property with banners calling for his infamous ‘guest’ to be booted out of the village.
His house is now situated behind two sets of double doors and there is no bell or buzzer for callers to use.
‘He is a very private person,’ said a resident.
Mr Buchanan, 68, a wealthy former hairdresser, is still listed as a director of the company which handled Glitter’s interests, however.
But will he still be there for the one-time Leader Of The Gang this time?
‘My decision to offer him sanctuary ruined my life,’ Mr Buchanan revealed afterwards.
So it seems unlikely he will be waiting outside the prison gates to meet his old friend when he is finally released.
‘Hello, hello, it’s good to be back,’ Gary Glitter used to belt out on stage to his screaming fans.But will it be?
n Additional reporting: Mark Branagan and Andrew Buckwell
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