Glitter paid money to families of sex-case girls

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The Independent Online

Disgraced rock star Gary Glitter paid more than £2,000 to the families of two under-age Vietnamese girls he is accused of sexually abusing, it emerged today.

Glitter gave £1,100 each to the families of the 11 and 12-year-old girls he allegedly had sex with, his lawyer said.

It could mean he receives a lighter sentence if the case goes to court.

The payments are equivalent to around three times the average annual wage in the south-east Asian country.

The families, who were paid two weeks ago in US dollars, had originally asked for £5,600 and £3,000. Last week both wrote letters to the court asking for the case against the 70s' star to be dropped.

"If we pay the money for the two families, when this case goes to court, maybe Mr Gary will receive a lighter penalty," Glitter's attorney Le Thanh Kinh said.

"After receiving the money, they informed the investigation bureau that they don't want to go to court and they want to drop the case."

Prosecutors in Vietnam said the money would have no bearing on whether the case goes to trial.

However, the court could consider it as a form of compensation during the sentencing phase, deputy provincial chief prosecutor Nguyen Van Xung said.

"It will not affect the investigation and the trial process, but the court may consider it as one factor to lessen the sentence," he explained.

Glitter, 61, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was arrested last month at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City as he tried to flee Vietnam.

He had left his rented home in the southern resort of Vung Tau amid allegations about his relationships with two teenage girls.

Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was taken back to Vung Tau for further investigation by the police and has been detained in a regional prison on suspicion of engaging in obscene acts with a child - a charge punishable by up to 12 years in prison.

Police completed their investigation into the case this week and handed over their conclusions to Glitter and Kinh today.

Prosecutors have said they are likely to charge Glitter with engaging in lewd acts with a child, saying there is not enough evidence to prove the more serious crime of child rape, which carries a maximum penalty of death by firing squad.

"The crime of obscene acts with a child is obvious," Nguyen Van Xung said. "We hope to have the final decision in less than a month."

The two girls reportedly told police that they had sex with the former glam rocker at his rented seaside house in Vung Tau.

However, police investigators said there was not enough evidence to press the child rape charge against Glitter since medical tests showed the girls did not have sexual intercourse.

Glitter won fame as a flamboyant glam rocker in the 1970s. He was convicted in Britain in 1999 of possessing child pornography and served half of a four-month jail term before being released.

He later went to Cambodia and was permanently expelled in 2002, but Cambodian officials did not specify any crime or file charges.