The paedophile glam rock singer, who had a string of chart hits in the 1970s, was jailed in 2015 for sexually abusing three schoolgirls. The 79-year-old left HMP The Verne – a low-security category C jail in Portland, Dorset – on Friday after eight years behind bars.
Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was freed automatically halfway through a fixed-term determinate sentence and will now be subject to licence conditions.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Sex offenders like Paul Gadd are closely monitored by the police and Probation Service and face some of the strictest licence conditions, including being fitted with a GPS tag.
“If the offender breaches these conditions at any point, they can go back behind bars. We’ve already introduced tougher sentences for the worst offenders and ended the automatic halfway release for serious crimes.”
Prison vans were seen leaving the jail on Friday morning, but it is thought Glitter may have been released in the early hours. The sex offender was at the height of his fame when he preyed on his vulnerable victims, who thought no-one would believe their claims over that of a celebrity.
He attacked two girls, aged 12 and 13, after inviting them backstage to his dressing room and isolating them from their mothers. His third victim was less than ten years old when he crept into her bed and tried to rape her in 1975.
The allegations only came to light nearly 40 years later when Glitter became the first person to be arrested under Operation Yewtree – the investigation launched by the Metropolitan Police in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Sentencing the singer, Judge Alistair McCreath said all the victims were “profoundly affected” by the abuse. He said it was “difficult to overstate the gravity of this dreadful behaviour” when referring to the assault on one victim, telling Glitter he was able to attack another “only” because of his fame.
The court heard there was no evidence Glitter had atoned for his actions after he was found guilty of one count of attempted rape, one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 13, and four counts of indecent assault. He later lost a Court of Appeal challenge against his conviction.
Glitter’s fall from grace occurred years earlier after he admitted possessing 4,000 child pornography images and was jailed for four months in 1999.
In 2002, he was expelled from Cambodia amid reports of sex crime allegations, and in March 2006 he was convicted of sexually abusing two girls, aged ten and 11, in Vietnam and spent two-and-a-half years in jail.
Once released from prison, sex offenders are subject to licence conditions, which can include being banned from visiting certain areas to protect victims and their families, having to live at a certain address, and facing a curfew.
They will have to attend regular meetings with probation officers, who they have to tell if they change their name and must request permission before travelling abroad – with the potential for stricter restrictions on their movements depending on the risk they pose.