Police were called out to an escalating disturbance at a bail hostel in Hampshire, in the south of England, where it had become apparent that disgraced paedophile and ex-glam rock singer Gary Glitter had been staying, following his early release from a nearby prison.
A baying crowd gathered outside the unnamed property after learning of the sex offender’s presence inside. The 79-year-old had been allowed to leave HMP, The Verne, which is a low security, category C jail, in the town of Portland, in the neighbouring county of Dorset, after serving exactly half of his 16 year fixed-term sentence.
He had been found guilty in 2015 of sexually assaulting three schoolgirls, and protestors angrily demanded his removal from what is a largely residential area, with one man attempting to scale a security fence. There are playgrounds and schools just a stone’s throw away from the house he has been placed in, giving justification to the high emotions of the local population.
A spokesperson for the force said the disorder was dealt with satisfactorily without the need for any arrests, but whether the shamed former pop star is moved remains to be seen. His whereabouts was supposed to be kept top secret, but as is the way with these things, a leak soon found its way into the local community.
Strict licensing conditions imposed on his release
The Ministry of Justice confirmed that offenders of the like of Glitter – real name Paul Gadd – are always closely monitored by the police and probation officers. He will have straight away been fitted with a GPS tag around his ankle, and he will face some of the strictest licence conditions possible for released prisoners, and should he breach any of them at any point he will be returned to jail immediately.
The restrictions placed before him include: abiding by a strict curfew; attending regular meetings with a probation officer; no rights to travel outside of the UK; no unsupervised contact with children; barred from living with anyone under the age of 18; an instruction to keep well away from schools and playgrounds; banned from swimming pools; no contact with the media; and a ban on working without prior approval.
Solicitor points to distress of client
However, Richard Scorer, a solicitor who represents one of sex-predator’s victims pointed out that these systems are sadly never “fail-safe” and said the news of the release was particularly “distressing and traumatic” for those he attacked, commenting that the early release devalues his own particular client’s suffering, as well as that of his other victims too. He then worryingly added:”If there is one thing we know about sex offenders it is that they are overwhelmingly likely to try and re-offend.”
Refusal to engage in rehabilitation efforts
The protests certainly seemed justified as it has emerged that Glitter/Gadd refused to engage in prison sex-offender rehabilitation programmes whilst serving his time inside. He was forced to attend but made it perfectly clear he had no interest in their content; choosing instead to simply stare out of the window throughout their duration, more like a “naughty schoolboy on detention” was the way one prison officer described his attitude.
Such behaviour is a clear indication of no remorse for his dreadful crimes, which would clearly suggest he is not fit for release into society.
Victim still struggling years on
One of his victims who chose not to give her name said: “He has done eight years, but I got a life sentence. I am still struggling to deal with what that monster did; he should never be allowed out for what he did, he is still a danger.”
Automatic release could not be stopped
Unfortunately, although many will be shocked and dismayed at the early release, given the gravity of his awful crimes, but the harsh reality is that the authorities had little option but to allow it. He received the standard determinate or fixed-term sentence of 16 years from the judge at his trial, meaning that he automatically was released on licence at the halfway point of eight years.
There have long been concerns about this policy, with victims and the public often left confused by the fact offenders do not serve their full sentence.
Law change could not be applied retrospectively
For this reason the government changed the law in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act 2022, which changes the automatic release point for adult offenders serving sentences of four years or more for serious violent or sexual offences. If Glitter/Gadd had been convicted under these rules, the convicted paedophile would have been required to serve a minimum of two-thirds of the term rather than half, meaning he would still be locked up for a further two years and eight months, taking him into his eighties.
Sadly, like the majority of new laws, they do not apply retrospectively and nothing could be done to extend the sex offenders time in jail. Under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the justice secretary, currently Dominic Raab, has a duty to automatically release certain fixed-term prisoners when they have completed the requisite custodial period, even though he was quick to raise his serious concerns and challenge Parole Board decisions relating to violent offenders. The simple fact of the matter was that he essentially had no choice.
Depraved behaviour with no remorse
At the time of sentencing in 2015, where Glitter/Gadd was found guilty of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault, and one of having sex with a girl under 13, Judge Alistair McCreath said he could find “no real evidence” that he had atoned for his crimes. He described his abuse of an innocent girl under 10 as “absolutely appalling”, adding that it was difficult to overstate the depravity of such dreadful behaviour.
He also pointed out that the paedophile had done real and lasting damage to all of his victims and said he had done so for no other reason than to “obtain sexual gratification for yourself of a wholly improper kind,”
Judge’s hands tied on sentencing
The trial at Southwark Crown Court had lasted three weeks and on assessing the seriousness of defendant’s offences, the Judge said that by the guidelines before him, it meant he could not impose the life sentence he felt the crimes deserved, and could only enforce the maximum permitted, which he acknowledge was exceptionally lenient.
Who is he?
Born in Banbury in Oxfordshire, on 8 May, 1944, Gadd never knew his father and was brought up in his early childhood by his mother and grandmother. He went into care at the age of ten and was married before he was out of his teens. He has son and daughter from the relationship and entered the music industry when he was in his mid-twenties.
Aged 28 and now going by the name Gary Glitter, he suddenly shot to fame during the emerging glam-rock scene in the 1970’s. Hits such as: Rock n Roll, I Love You Love, Do You Wanna Touch Me?, and I’m The Leader of the Gang, propelled him to stardom. By 1975, Glitter had sold 18 million records, but this hid the shocking truth of his real self.
It was in this same year that he attacked two girls, aged 12 and 13, after he invited them to his dressing room.
Laptop images expose his hidden depravation
It was 22 years later before he was first arrested in 1997 after dozens of images of child sex abuse were discovered by an engineer on his laptop’s hard drive, in the Bristol branch of PC World, after he had taken the device in for repairs. He was given a four month prison sentence for the possession of the images.
Asian children suffer at his hands
Following his release he fled to Cambodia, but was “permanently expelled” from the country in 2002 over unspecified allegations. He settled in neighbouring Vietnam, but in 2006 he was convicted for molesting two girls aged 11 and 12, and jailed for three years. He had evaded more serious charges of child rape, which carried a maximum penalty of death by firing squad.
He then returned to Britain in August 2008, where upon his arrival he was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.
Savile scandal proves to be his downfall
It was to be the Jimmy Savile scandal in 2012 which would be the undoing of the evil predator. It was discovered that Savile, a media personality, who had died a year earlier, had sexually abused hundreds of people throughout his lifetime, mostly children although some as old as 75.
The allegations against Glitter/Gadd only came to light nearly 40 years after the event, when he became the first person to be arrested under Operation Yewtree, which was the investigation launched by the Metropolitan Police in the wake of the unearthing of Savile’s horrendous crimes.
People were urged to come forward amid deep suspicion of other personalities behaving in a similarly depraved manner, but under the protection of their celebrity status, victims were at the time afraid to report the crimes.
Arrested for 40 year old crimes
Glitter/Gadd was arrested at his multi-million pound home in Westminster, London after it emerged that he had attacked two girls, aged 12 and 13, after inviting them backstage to his dressing room and isolating them from their mothers. His third victim was less than 10 years old when he crept into her bed and tried to rape her back in 1975.
He appeared in court in 2015 and denied all the horrifying charges, but was found guilty on six counts.
‘Yewtree’ detective labels Glitter a habitual sexual predator
At the time Detective Chief Inspector Michael Orchard, from Operation Yewtree, said the paedophile a “habitual sexual predator who took advantage of the star status afforded to him.” Adding that the sex offender lacked remorse and said that in accusing the victims of lying he made his crimes all the more indefensible.
Free from prison but never from shame
The evil performer had a huge fanbase, which probably gave him sense of invincibility. His outrageous costumes covered in sequins, his big hair and ridiculous platform shoes, gave him an identity, which was almost of a slightly comical panto figure.
However, behind it all was a twisted moral compass. He could, and under different circumstances would, still be locked up; but the law was on his side and he has managed to walk free, albeit still on license.
He no longer owns the master rights to his songs so receives no royalties, but many believe his music should never be played anyway, and ought to be completely destroyed.