LONDON (AFP) - Glam rock star Gary Glitter was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Friday after being found guilty of abusing three young girls in the latest child sex scandal to bring down a former icon of Britain's entertainment world.
Glitter, 70, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was 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.
"You did all of them real and lasting damage and you did so for no other reason than to obtain sexual gratification for yourself of a wholly improper kind," judge Alistair McCreath told the singer.
Fans of the singer were in the court's public gallery during the sentencing as the entertainer, dressed in a black velvet coat, was led from the dock.
Glitter was at the height of his fame as a musician when he attacked his victims, and investigators said he targeted young girls who were in awe of him.
Prosecutor John Price earlier in the trial described how a drunken Gadd had tried to force himself on a girl, who was aged under 10 at the time, in the 1970s.
The victim only came forward 20 years after the incident when she saw that Gadd had admitted in 1999 to child pornography charges.
He also attacked two girls, aged 12 and 13, after inviting them to his dressing room without their mothers. One victim, now in her 50s, told the court how Glitter, smelling of “booze and cigarettes", had put his arm over her, making her feel “uncomfortable”.
CONVICTED IN VIETNAM
The singer was first jailed in 1999 when he admitted possessing 4,000 images of child pornography. He was deported from Cambodia in 2002 over unspecified claims and convicted in Vietnam in 2006 of sexually abusing two girls, for which he was sentenced to three years in jail. On returning to Britain, Glitter was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
Glitter shot to fame in the 1970s and had over 20 hit singles including “I’m the Leader of the Gang (I Am)", “I Love You Love Me Love” and “Come On Come In Get On”.
Glitter is the latest in a series of high profile people in Britain to be convicted of historical sex abuse. He was arrested as part of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Yewtree, launched in the wake of historic sex abuse claims against late BBC star Jimmy Savile, now accused of being a prolific sex offender.
British health minister Jeremy Hunt on Thursday said that Savile, who died in 2011, had abused 177 people from 1954 onwards, including 60 staff, patients and visitors at a hospital he raised funds for.
The government has launched a wide-ranging inquiry into how sexual abuse allegations were handled in the wake of a string of scandals involving child abuse at hospitals, care homes, churches and schools.
The probe will include a review of allegations of a ring of paedophiles in powerful political positions, rumours that first circulated in the 1980s but that resurfaced following the Savile case.