Nathan Spiteri

Little boy lost:
How a brutal paedophile groomed this small-town boy

Original Artwork By: Melanie Jai

Original Artwork By: Melanie Jai

It was January 1987. A sweltering summer day in a small town in south-east Australia; the kind of day where the seatbelts in the Kingswood burn kids’ bums and families get hot chips for dinner because mum’s too tired to get up from in front of the fan.

Eight-year-old Nathan Spiteri was packed into the local swimming pool with his mates and pretty much the entire population of his home town of Queanbeyan, NSW. The rowdy boys drew stern looks from sunbaking teens and parents as they bombed, splashed and shouted.

Nathan will never know what it was about him that drew the attention of a man sitting on a towel, watching the pool intently. It may have been his dark hair and skin (he’s of Maltese heritage). It may have been his exceptionally loud fluoro Hang Ten board shorts. Or his master bombing ability.

Whatever it was, it prompted the man to follow Nathan to the change rooms at the end of the day - long after people had dried off and dawdled out the front gate to head to their local takeaways for hot chips.“I’ve lived with shame and guilt for so many years but now I understand the worst thing that happened to me could potentially become the best,” Nathan says of the screenplay.

“I’ve accepted what happened to me and I feel like the reason it happened was so I could share my story and help others.

“There are so many men and women in the world who have never spoken of their abuse and hold so much shame, guilt and pain inside. They’re unable to connect with people, feel any kind of love and hold a meaningful relationship - I know only too well how that feels.

“If I can help them to get the help they need, it will all have been worth it. If I can stop someone from killing themselves, abusing another child, going down the path of sex and violence, like I did, then I’ve done the right thing.”