Glitter on flight back to UK

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The Independent Online

Shamed pop star Gary Glitter finally left Bangkok tonight and is heading for London, the Foreign Office said.

The 64-year-old paedophile had reportedly been refusing to return to Britain following his release on Tuesday from a Vietnamese prison, where he had been in jail for abusing two young girls.

But having failed to gain entry to Thailand on two occasions and Hong Kong once, Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, agreed to fly to London Heathrow today.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm that Mr Gadd has left Bangkok and is heading to the UK."

He is expected to touch down shortly after 7am tomorrow.

Glitter had been at the centre of an international game of ping-pong as country after country refused him leave to enter.

The farcical series of events began on Tuesday when Glitter left a Vietnamese prison after serving almost three years for abusing two girls aged 10 and 11.

He was ordered out of Vietnam and travelled to Bangkok, where he was expected to board a flight to London Heathrow under the terms of his release.

But on arrival in the Thai capital, Glitter reportedly feigned heart trouble to avoid boarding the UK-bound plane.

He was barred entry to Thailand and warned he would be taken to a detention centre if he continued to refuse to leave the country.

After spending around 20 hours in the transit lounge at Bangkok Airport, Glitter boarded a flight to Hong Kong last night in the hope that he would be accepted there.

But the Chinese authorities barred him entry and he was put back on a Thai Airways flight to Bangkok today.

On his arrival he was told by Thai authorities that he was not welcome.

Thai Police Colonel Worawat Amornwiwat said: "Thailand is not allowing him to enter the country and Hong Kong is turning him back, so there is no choice for him now."

With a growing list of countries stating that they would deny him entry, Glitter agreed to return to the UK.

His decision to board a plane for London looks set to end the bizarre series of shuttle flights between different airports.

He is due to arrive at Heathrow at around 7.15am tomorrow, where he can expect to be greeted by the police and a hostile press.

Officers will serve Glitter an order which will effectively put him on the sex offenders register for a second time.

The former Glam rock singer was convicted of downloading child pornography in the UK in 1999 after a computer repair shop found the images on his laptop and he served two months of a four-month sentence.

He left the country and moved to Spain and Cuba before travelling to south-east Asia, where he escaped detection until he was tracked down by reporters.

He was kicked out of Cambodia after facing allegations of sex crimes and moved to the Vietnamese coastal resort of Vung Tau.

The two girls at first made allegations of rape, which carries a death sentence, but were reportedly paid off with £1,175.

Glitter was arrested trying to leave the country and stood trial, pleading not guilty and claiming he was teaching the girls English. He was convicted and sentenced to three years in March 2006.

Zoe Hilton, policy adviser at the NSPCC, said: "This clearly illustrates why it's so important to have binding agreements between countries which will prevent sex offenders hopping from one place to another and possibly going underground where they will pose a serious threat to children.

"Offenders like Glitter can and should be chaperoned while being deported back to the UK where they can be properly monitored. It is disappointing this latest development was not anticipated and proper arrangements put in place to make this work.

"This case is important because it highlights how easy it is for UK offenders to move around freely when they are overseas - even those who pose a high risk to children."

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