Mobbed by photographers and greeted by police, faded ex-rocker Gary Glitter arrived in Britain on Friday at the end of a four-day odyssey after being deported from Vietnam for molesting children.
Glitter’s lawyer quickly declared that he had been unfairly convicted and announced the singer’s intention to clear his name.
London seemed to be the last place Glitter, 64, wanted to be, but his native country was also apparently his only choice. After he was released from a Vietnamese prison Tuesday, Glitter headed first to Thailand, where he was told he was not welcome. He then tried Hong Kong with the same result, and was sent back to Bangkok.
The Thais had not changed their minds. By Thursday, airlines and authorities alike appeared to be running out of patience and dispatched him to London’s Heathrow Airport.
He emerged from this last flight wearing a white T-shirt and a baseball cap.
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.
At Heathrow on Friday, Glitter was whisked through immigration.
At a nearby courthouse his lawyer David Corker said the court ordered Glitter to sign onto Britain’s sex offenders registry in the next three days.
Corker said the former rock star, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, was “pleased” to be back in Britain, because he would have a chance to clear his name.
“He tells me that his trial in Vietnam ... was a travesty of justice,” Corker told reporters. “Mr. Gadd wants through me to say to you that he did not commit the offenses he was convicted of in Vietnam.”
Glitter was convicted in Vietnam of committing “obscene acts with children” — offenses involving girls aged 10 and 11. He had a previous conviction in Britain for possessing child pornography.
In 2002, he was traced to Cambodia, where he lived for about six months before Cambodian officials learned his identity from the British press. He was kicked out.
In November 2005, Vietnamese police began a criminal investigation against him for alleged lewd acts with a minor. At least five girls gave statements to police about their sexual involvement with Glitter, who denied the allegations. Glitter was convicted in March 2006.
During his time in prison in Vietnam, Glitter had talked about reviving his musical career. Since he was released Tuesday, no one has heard him so much as hum his best known hit, “Rock and Roll (Part 1&2).”