26 March 2017 • 3:54pm
WHEN pop star Gary Glitter was arrested on child porn charges in 1999, there was only one member of his family to stand by him: his cousin Jo Gadd.
She even supported him when Glitter – born Paul Gadd – was jailed over historic child sex crimes more than a decade later.
But today, in a courageous confession, the 46-year-old mother-of-two reveals Glitter’s greatest betrayal: he abused her too when she was just 12 years old.
I WAS just 12 when Gary Glitter appeared at my bedside carrying a bottle of champagne and a crystal glass. I was secretly thrilled.
He was, back then, the Leader of the Gang, the silver-suited and platform-booted showman whose Glitter Band rocked Top Of The Pops.
His massive black quiff and smiley eyes looked down from posters on the walls of hundreds of thousands of fans.
For me he was not just a heart-throb – he was also my cousin. It was my dad John who taught him to play the guitar, and Gary always credited him – along with Elvis – as his biggest musical influence.
Jo Gadd had previously stood by Gary Glitter throughout the allegations but is speaking out now for the first time about the abuse she faced by her cousin
I decided our family ties must be the reason he’d crept away from the grown-ups partying downstairs to come and see me. I felt so cool, almost overawed, enjoying the slipstream of his fame.
That was the first lie I told myself about Gary. It would prove to be the first of many over the 35 years that I stood by him.
Gary had been tactile with me since I was tiny. He loved to touch me and hold me close, but that night was different. I could sense it even though I did not have a name for it. He lay on the mattresses strewn across the floor, chatting and laughing with the other half- a-dozen girls also sleeping at his girlfriend’s home in Somerset.
Then slowly, deliberately, he made his way over to me. I lay still, pretending to be asleep, but he got into bed with me and touched me between the legs and on my chest.
I was almost scared to death. I longed for him to stop but I was frozen, unable to tell him to leave me alone or wriggle from his grasp.
His assault must have lasted just a few minutes but it felt like for ever.
I felt sick and angry and but what could I do? He had abused me in front of a room full of girls who were, like the adults nearby, in thrall to his celebrity.
Afterwards he just got up and left without saying a word. In truth, I didn’t know exactly what had happened – I didn’t know men did that to children. I asked myself what I’d done to deserve it.
The next morning, Gary was his usual flamboyant self. Everyone in the house seemed to be talking and reliving the party from the night before. I was mortified.
I just wanted to go home to Oxfordshire, to be somewhere familiar that would make me feel safe again. In my head, I was pleading to Mum and Dad: ‘Come on, come on. I want to go.’
But I could not tell them because I knew they would not have believed me.
My father idolised Gary, treating him as a son because Gary had never known his own dad.
Many of the best bits of my childhood – the parties and the backstage passes and the posh meals – had Gary at the heart of them.
So I decided I would wipe it from my memory. I would forget about it. I would pretend to everyone, most of all myself, that Gary Glitter was not a paedophile and I was not his victim. It was 1982 and for a time my strategy worked. Then Gary moved to a village nearby and became even more deeply entwined in our lives.
He’d been in Oxfordshire for a year when he again came upstairs and got in bed with me and a friend who was having a sleepover. He moved closer to her and whispered: ‘Hey, I’ll keep you warm.’
As he uttered those toxic words, my dad burst in and yanked Gary out of bed. ‘What the hell do you think you’re doing?’ he yelled, enraged and appalled. Gary, ever the world-class performer, laughed it off and pretended it had all been a big joke.
Another time, I remember waiting at the village bus stop when Gary pulled up in his big Rover and wound down the window. ‘Hey, Jo!’ he shouted. ‘When are your school friends coming around? Let me know and I’ll be there!’
For a fleeting moment, I thought ‘Oh, he just wants to see us all’, and, of course, my friends still flocked to our house in the hope of hanging out with him. But underneath I knew that this was all very, very wrong.
The parties stopped with the death of my father from lung cancer in 1992. I was 22 and devastated. My mother was heartbroken too and took her own life five difficult years later, unable to cope.
My father – whom everyone adored and called Uncle John – had been the rock of our family, and his death drove a wedge between the children from his first and second marriages. As a family we were fragmented by grief, not united by it. Gary saw that and turned himself into a father figure to me. I was blindly grateful: he was the only family I had left.
I had always denied to myself what he’d done to me that night in Somerset. If I didn’t acknowledge it then I didn’t have to admit it to other people either. Gary must have known that and the closer we became, the more my loyalty was assured – the classic strategy of a predatory paedophile. I told myself he was protecting me; now I understand he was only protecting himself. This self-delusion explains all that happened next.
In 1999, Gary was jailed for four months for possessing child porn. Dozens of indecent images had been discovered on a laptop he put in for repair.
It was harrowing for his family and friends and also his fans, who included the super-band Oasis – they’d paid tribute to him on their second album and he’d bought a yacht with the royalties.
Overnight almost everyone faded away. No one can forgive child porn. I jumped to Gary’s support. I lost a lot of friends.
People said: ‘It’s disgusting. How could he?’ I just said: ‘He’s my family.’ The truth was that if I accepted his guilt over the computer porn, I had to admit the truth of what he had done to me.
After his release from prison in January 2000, Gary appeared at a perfectly stage-managed press call – dark glasses, red Mercedes, an admission of regret – and then fled abroad.
He’d email me from Spain, then Cuba and then Cambodia. I was at home in Somerset with my husband and our two young daughters in 2005 when we heard he had been arrested in Vietnam, accused of molesting two girls aged ten and 11.
News reports said he might face death by firing squad – the penalty for child rape. I contacted the British Embassy and we flew straight out. My husband stayed in a resort while I was driven to a rural prison, where I met Gary in what can only be described as a hut.
Despite this extraordinary fall for someone who had been a rock institution for three decades, Gary was full of joy. He literally danced in to meet me. ‘Don’t worry. Everything will be fine,’ he said. I just sat there crying.
At that point, I thought about walking away from it all, but I didn’t have anyone else. All my family and most of my friends had disappeared since his first arrest.
Only a handful, to whom I’m tremendously grateful, stood by me. Gary may have built a trap for me, but by supporting him in those early days, I’d closed the door on it myself.
Gary was convicted of kissing, fondling and engaging in sex acts with the girls at his beach home on the south coast. He was jailed for three years.
We were living in Australia when he was released. He phoned in the middle of the night from England to say: ‘Hi Jo, I’m back.’
We flew to the UK as a family to see him and spent three weeks helping get his life back on track. He’d had people doing things for him for years so he couldn’t even pay a bill himself. We helped him rent a house in Kent and prepared his flat in London. My husband went back to Vietnam and Cambodia to sort out his affairs.
Gary had a friend called Song in Vietnam. He’d taught her English, he said. He wanted her to come to England but when my husband took her to Hanoi to apply for a visa, it was declined. I wasn’t suspicious of her role in his life – to me she was just another tick on my administrative to-do list.
Gary couldn’t get a UK bank account – at least that’s what he claimed – so we agreed to handle his money through one of our accounts in England.
Once we were back in Australia, Gary and I were on Skype to each other virtually every day. There was always something he wanted me to do – paying bills, sorting out parking permits and sending increasingly large sums of money to Song. Later, I discovered the truth about Song when pictures of her and Gary appeared in a Sunday newspaper. In reality, she was a former prostitute who had fixed Gary up with young girls in Vietnam. I was appalled.
That knowledge, and the fact that I’d been made complicit in their relationship, was crucial to me. While I still couldn’t admit the real truth, I did recognise that he was capable of lying to me, and of betraying my love and trust.
But it was a new and devastating set of allegations of historic child sex abuse that made me confront what had happened in my own childhood.
In February 2015, Gary was jailed for 16 years for sexually abusing three girls between 1975 and 1980. He was found guilty of rape, unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 13, and four counts of indecent assault.
His lawyer had asked me to be a character witness and I had agreed. I said Gary was innocent. I was still lying for him, unconsciously of course, but the veneer was almost worn through. The evidence was irrefutable: he was a serial abuser. My statement, which I will regret for ever, wasn’t used.
After the trial, I spoke more frequently to Gary’s only remaining friend. We traded stories and confided in each other and I finally told him what I’d never confessed to my parents or my husband. After keeping it secret for so many years, it was a huge relief.
When Gary found out what I’d told his friend, he said just two things. The first was: ‘She’s lying.’ The second: ‘I was just tucking her up in bed.’
But he wasn’t. Gary Glitter, my cousin, abused me when I was 12 with my mum and dad downstairs. I have to live with that knowledge and also the fact that in not telling anyone, not being able to tell anyone, I let him do the same to an unknown number of girls over the decades.
I feel shame and guilt and pity but also relief at unburdening myself and being released from the need to support him. I am having counselling and I am considering going to the police.
The hardest thing for me, however, is that telling the truth has made a mockery of my whole childhood. It makes me feel that my family life was built on lies. Gary is in prison. One day he will come out. But I will never be free of my past.
As told to Simon Parry.
TONY BLACKBURN IMPERSONATES GARY GLITTER-BBC via Truth Seeking Music Makers & for BBC’s Children in Need?! WTF?? Interesting idea Mr Blackburn??
Gary Glitter’s cousin, who stood him while he was jailed for child abuse, has revealed that the pop star sexually abused her as a child too.
Jo Gadd has revealed the pop star abused her when she was just 12 years old, saying speaking out was a “huge relief”.
Throughout the series of accusations levelled at Glitter, Ms Gadd stood by her cousin, even agreed to be a character witness. She said in her statement that he was innocent, but the statement was not used and she deeply regrets having provided it.
The 46-year-old has now revealed that Glitter abused her one night while her parents were downstairs.
Writing for the Mail on Sunday, the mother of two said: “[he] appeared at my bedside carrying a bottle of champagne and a crystal glass. I was secretly thrilled. He was, back then, the Leader of the Gang, the silver-suited and platform-booted showman whose Glitter Band rocked Top Of The Pops.”
“I lay still, pretending to be asleep, but he got into bed with me and touched me between the legs and on my chest.”
Gadd said she longed for Glitter to stop, but was paralysed by fear and felt unable to tell him to stop.
She added: “I felt sick and angry and but what could I do? He had abused me in front of a room full of girls who were, like the adults nearby, in thrall to his celebrity.”
Gadd said she did not speak out because some of the best parts of her childhood – parties and backstage passes – had Glitter “at the heart of them”. Instead, she wiped the incident from her memory.
Her father John had also been a father figure to Glitter, teaching him to play the guitar as a youngster. When he died, Gadd says Glitter was a source of comfort to her, turning himself “into a father figure” to her.
She said that she now saw his actions towards her as a means of protecting himself and ensuring her loyalty.
In 1999, Glitter was found to have a huge number of indecent images of children on a laptop he put in for repair. He was imprisoned for a year. Gadd says stood by the pop star while the world turned against him.
“People said: ‘It’s disgusting. How could he?’ I just said: ‘He’s my family.’ The truth was that if I accepted his guilt over the computer porn, I had to admit the truth of what he had done to me,” she said.
She added: “I have to live with that knowledge and also the fact that in not telling anyone, not being able to tell anyone, I let him do the same to an unknown number of girls over the decades”.
When Glitter was jailed for molesting two girls, aged ten and 11, in Vietnam, Gadd again rushed to help him
Fallen British glam rock star Gary Glitter (C) is escorted by police out of a courtroom after losing his appeal hearing in a child molestation case in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
It was not until Glitter returned to the UK, and it emerged she had unwittingly helped him pay money to a former prostitute in Vietnam who had fixed Glitter up with young girls, that she said she forced herself to “confront what had happened in my own childhood”.
Glitter was jailed for 16 years for historic sexual offences in 2015. He was found guilty of rape, unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 13, and four counts of indecent assault.
Gadd gave Glitter’s lawyers character witness statements, stating that he was innocent. It was after the trial when she spoke to Glitter’s only remaining friend that she finally revealed the abuse she had suffered. Glitter, she said, claims he was “tucking her up in bed”.
Gadd says she is considering taking her allegations to the police and is receiving counselling.
Gary Glitter https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Glitter