real life

'The moment I realised my partner was a paedophile.'

In high school, at the age of 15, Ana Nikoladze had an older boyfriend. He was 29, in a band and told her she was pretty just when she needed to hear it.

But, as she wrote in Broadley, Ana soon discovered that this man was interested in her not in spite of her age, but because of it.

Her boyfriend was a paedophile.

The pair met on a forum and within weeks met up and began a relationship, sharing joints, beer and heavy kissing. But through the haze of thrilling rebellion, the teenager sensed something unsettling in his embrace.

“It feels like it’s wrong, but not the good wrong, not like smoking a whole pack behind the school,” she recalls, “it surpasses the cool aspect of bad and dabbles in menacing.”

He continued to place his “cold clammy” hands on her body, continued trying to attempt convince her to give up her virginity, but she found excuses. When he later teased, “I don’t really like ’em older than 19, but don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of time”, she knew she had to get out.

Luckily she did. Although ten years on, the man continues to walk among the community.

“I may never get my justice, but at least now I know, that there really is no other side to the argument,” she wrote in the Broadley piece. “There is no sharing the blame; no deep, dark secret between two parties. Instead, there is a crime and there is a victim; a predator and a prey. And I’m no longer any of those.”

As Ana notes in her article, she is not the first person to have made such an unsettling realisation about their partner.

Last year, Sydney woman Leah Mouatt began investigating suspicions that her partner of six years was having an affair only to discover he was frequenting online child pornography websites.

“All I remember next is a lot of screaming and crying and being on the floor,” Mouatt told Rachel Olding of The Sydney Morning Herald.

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She called a friend, then packed a bag and phoned the police, turning him in.

Phillip John Vellio and Leigh Mouatt in happier times. Via 60 Minutes.

Investigators discovered 32,000 images and 854 videos on John Vellio's laptops, including - according to The Sydney Morning Herald - some featuring babies, toddlers and teenagers engaged in sexual acts. It all amounted to the 33-year-old being convicted in July 2016 of two counts of possessing child abuse material.

An semblance of justice was served on behalf of his victims. But theirs weren't the only lives he'd shattered.

"My life blew apart from that phone call," Mouatt said, "and the only thing that got me through was hanging on to knowing that I'd done the right thing."