Glitter jailed for 4,000 child pornography images

THE GLAM ROCK star Gary Glitter was jailed for four months yesterday for possessing what was described as some of the most vile child pornography ever uncovered, just two hours after he was cleared of sexually assaulting a teenage fan.

A jury at Bristol Crown Court acquitted the 55-year-old singer - real name Paul Francis Gadd - of abusing a 14-year-old over a two-year period 20 years ago after hearing that the alleged victim would be paid pounds 25,000 by a Sunday newspaper if Glitter was convicted.

Yesterday's decision to clear Glitter sparked calls by MPs for legislation to be introduced that would ban the payment of witnesses in court cases.

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, is to examine the Glitter case as part of a review of the Contempt of Court Act. The Government has promised to introduce restrictions on pre-trial publicity and ban newspapers from offering witnesses money for stories.

The newspaper watchdog, the Press Complaints Commission, also announced that it will investigate payments allegedly made by the News of the World to the woman witness in the Glitter trial. The newspaper had already paid the woman pounds 10,000 for her story and had promised a further pounds 25,000 on a successful conviction, the court was told. The woman, now 34, had accused Glitter of a series of sexual assaults.

The court was also told of Glitter's "voracious" interest in child pornography.

Glitter pleaded guilty to 54 offences of making indecent photographs of children under the age of 16. Some 4,000 pictured were involved. Mr Justice Butterfield said the nature of the pornographic material was of "the very, very, worst possible type".

The material, which was culled from the Internet, included images of children as young as two being "bound, tortured, gagged and sexually abused in a most repellent way", the judge said.

"This is not a victimless crime. The victims are these little children whose images you looked at," he said.

Glitter, who was said to have spent up to 12 hours a day trawling the Internet for child pornography, was arrested in November 1997 after he took his personal computer to a Bristol firm for repair and a member of staff discovered the pictures.

John Royce QC, for the prosecution, said: "It showed very young children - some appeared as young as two - in the main ranging from three, four, five and six up to possibly about nine or ten."

Henri Brandman, for the defence, said after the hearing that Glitter would be appealing against his sentence. He said: "Gary is truly sorry for the commission of the offence. We will be appealing against the severity of the sentence."

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