Gary Glitter, known as a convicted paedophile, has been pictured with a smartphone at a bail hostel, according to The Sun on Sunday. Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, was jailed in 1997 after being caught with 4,000 child abuse images. He was released last month after serving half of a 16-year sentence for three counts of historic sexual abuse of girls under 13. Footage obtained by the newspaper showed Gadd discussing which search engines to use and referring to accessing the Dark Web. In the clip, he asks a friend: “Shall I get rid of this Duck Duck? Yeah, I wouldn’t bother using that if I were you.” Glitter then says: “So what do I do next, then? Let’s try and find this Onion. One step at a time.”
Former Det Supt Michael Hames, the founder of the Metropolitan Police’s Paedophile Unit, said the footage was “extremely disturbing” and demonstrated Gadd’s intention to access materials he should not be permitted to use. “People use the Dark Web for nefarious purposes. Why else would you want to be on there? Onion is a slang phrase for the Dark Web,” he said. Ex-detective Hames has expressed his view that Glitter, now aged 78 and visibly more frail, would “always pose a danger to children”.
UK Ministry of Justice officials are reported to be scrutinising the footage. Plan International UK, the humanitarian charity dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality, called for an urgent review into Glitter’s use of a smartphone. Carol Homden, its chief executive, said that “preventing and then rigorously monitoring an offender’s access to the internet is a key part of safeguarding children against sexual harm”. Glitter is being monitored by Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) which include restrictions on the use of the internet. There are presently 49,000 registered sex offenders in the UK.