A Vietnamese court sentenced British "glam rocker" Gary Glitter to three years in jail on Friday (March 3) for molesting two 11-year-old girls, although if he wins early parole he could be free by Chr

A Vietnamese court sentenced British "glam rocker" Gary Glitter to three years in jail on Friday (March 3) for molesting two 11-year-old girls, although if he wins early parole he could be free by Christmas.

"I'm innocent," the 61-year-old Glitter shouted after the verdict was pronounced following a one-day, closed-door trial.

Judge Hoang Thanh Tung in the southern resort town of Vung Tau described in graphic detail the offences committed by the 1970s pop icon.

"The court pronounces the defendant, Paul Francis Gadd, also known as Gary Glitter, guilty of engaging in lewd acts with children," said the judge, dressed in a sober black suit and dark blue tie.

Glitter lashed out afterwards at an unnamed British newspaper he blamed for his troubles.

"It's a conspiracy. You know who. One of Great Britain's newspapers," he told Reuters as he was escorted into a prison van by 10 green-uniformed policemen.

Defense lawyer Le Thanh Kinh said Glitter, who is already registered as a sex offender in Britain after a 1999 child porn conviction, would be eligible for parole one year from the date of his detention, in November 2005, as is customary in Vietnam.

The time he has already spent in prison will also be deducted from his sentence. The judge said he would be deported from the communist southeast Asian nation at the end of his sentence.

Glitter had 15 days to appeal but had yet to decide whether to do so, Kinh told reporters. "That comes from him, not from me," he said.

Chief investigator Colonel Nguyen Duc Trinh said he had recovered 2,231 images of child pornography from Glitter's computer and 31 video clips, opening the way for prosecution by police in Britain if he ends up there after his deportation.

British police, who can prosecute Britons for child sex crimes committed abroad, have questioned Glitter in jail and have been in contact with Vietnamese authorities, Trinh said. He would not divulge details of their discussions.

The former glam rock star began his recording career in 1960 as Paul Raven. As Gary Glitter, he became the first artist to have his first 11 singles reach the top ten of the British singles chart, beginning with his international hit "Rock and Roll" (Parts 1 & 2) in 1972. The streak included No. 1s with "I'm the Leader Of the Gang (I AM)," "I Love You Love Me Love," and "Always Yours," which were released through Bell from 1973-1974.

-- Reuters