Thursday, July 28, 2005


I’d phoned my sister last night just to see how she was doing, not really expecting the dark and slightly shocking story that she had in store for me. See, my sister, like me, shares a flat with two guys. Let’s call them The Harmless Nutter and The Geeky Tosspot. The Harmless Nutter is quite a… well, harmless and amiable fellow, always good for starting fights outside the pub and injuring himself in excruciating and comedy ways. The Geeky Tosspot is a rather pathetic creature. Imagine a really stereotypical geek - thick lens glasses, bad teeth, skinny, still getting his mum to do his shopping, nerdy robotic sounding voice - I’m sure you get the picture. Only this one’s 30-years old. My sister’s had to put up with all sorts with this guy; huge fallouts following his Lord Of The Rings mug getting damaged during the washing up, geeky mood swings (wimpy slamming of doors and the odd stamped foot), constant demands for lifts (like all good 30-year old geeks, The Geeky Tosspot cannot drive), requests for advice on how to end his 30-year streak of no luck with women etc etc. We’ve even had the declaration of love. That one was most unwelcome. He stays in every evening, watching TV and smoking dope, bemoaning how the world is against him. It’s got to the point that my sister and The Harmless Nutter have had enough, and are both moving out to join another house in a few weeks, but have told The Geeky Tosspot they are both moving out to separate houses as they cannot face the guilt and geeky rage they’d face if they admitted to him that they’d been both been driven out by his weirdness. He’d make out they were teaming up against him and abandoning him.

Now The Geeky Tosspot has quite a tragic past by all accounts - severely bullied at some anally posh private military school due to his geeky tosspotness - but there comes a point when you drag yourself out of that self pitying rut surely? You can’t still be wallowing in your teenage angst a full ten years later. A lot of people find themselves losing patience with him. I can’t bring myself to feel any pity for the bloke: the words “SORT IT OUT” fight to escape from my mouth whenever I see him. I realised the extent of his patheticness when we were all at the pub a year or two ago. It was quite a rowdy affair, with dancing involved. My sister was sat on a table and I boogied my way over to her, and picked her up and danced around with her in my arms for a bit. Presently, I felt the need to put her back down again, but when I went back to the table, I found The Geeky Tosspot had slithered into her place, leaving me nowhere to put her.
“The Geeky Tosspot!” I said, “Get out the way: shift yourself!”
The Geeky Tosspot stared back at me blankly, with his yellow buck teeth extruding from his mouth in a most unbecoming way. I repeated myself, and again he didn’t move. I chose to imagine he couldn’t hear me over the music rather than he was just being a prick, but either way I was losing patience and my sister was starting to feel heavy, so I gave him a “c’mon-move-out-the-fucking-way” shove in the chest. Except, due to his geeky frame, my shove was enough to send him sailing off the table, and at such a velocity he didn’t have time to recover himself, and so he landed awkwardly on his back on the floor. Shit. I felt pretty bad and was fully ready to accept the earful that was rightfully due my way and apologise for my out of order behaviour. But The Geeky Tosspot didn’t say a word; he just got up and scuttled away without even looking at me. I couldn’t bring myself to feel any guilt when faced with such patheticness.

So that’s the background. So, present day, and The Harmless Nutter’s computer is broken - I imagine due to him having done something like throwing it out of the window - so he heads to The Geeky Tosspot’s room to use his PC.

And finds the most gigantic stash of kiddie porn you can imagine. And some seriously twisted stuff at that.

Unsure what to do, The Harmless Nutter kept his dark discovery to himself for a couple of days, but then got drunk and blurted it out to my sister and her friend. Unable to believe what they are hearing, they go into The Geeky Tosspot’s room (who, surprisingly, is actually out somewhere), and The Harmless Nutter, used to people doubting the veracity of much of what he says, boots up the computer. My sister doesn’t see much, but she doesn’t have to in order to be truly sickened: the files names alone are deeply disturbing. “ ” is branded in her memory for ever, she later tells me.

Now, despite generally loathing the guy, there is a lot of pity for The Geeky Tosspot in that house. He’s considered a friend, albeit a highly tiresome one, by my sister and The Harmless Nutter. So they are both confused and distraught by their find and the dilemma it poses for them. But after an hour’s discussion, they come to the decision they have to go to the police.

So, they go to the police station and give a statement, and the police in turn get a warrant together and give my sister and The Harmless Nutter a time and date when they might like to make sure they are out of the house and arrange a raid. They tell my sister and The Harmless Nutter that they will almost certainly be able to prosecute without revealing how they discovered The Geeky Tosspot was amassing a veritable library of images of child abuse.

There then followed quite an awkward week, as my sister and The Harmless Nutter continued to share the flat with The Geeky Tosspot, not only having the burden of his dark secret weighing on their minds, but also the impending raid and subsequent arrest of someone they consider a friend. The day of the raid came, my sister and The Harmless Nutter excused themselves, and The Geeky Tosspot was duly arrested. He has since been bailed, and failed to tell his flatmates that he had been arrested or that the flat had been stormed in their absence.

Perhaps slightly disturbingly, The Geeky Tosspot was due to fly out to Thailand in a fortnight’s time. God knows what he was planning to do there of all places, but I’m supposing/hoping he won’t be allowed to leave the country with this hanging over him.

I do now feel a degree of sympathy for the guy; I now know that he isn’t just terminally sad, but he’s also fairly screwed up. Often you’ll find that your own problems and hard luck are nothing compared to those faced by other people, even in mundane suburbia. And at the back of my mind is the suspicion that the desire to abuse often stems from having been a victim of abuse oneself. I dread to think of the things The Geeky Tosspot might have endured in the past. I don’t know much about the onset or psychology of paedophilia. Is this something so deeply ingrained that now he’s someone who needs to be kept an eye on for the rest of his days? Or can it be nipped in the bud? I hope so. He’s got enough on his plate without becoming a vilified and potentially dangerous member of the community. But at the same time, most of my pity is overwhelmed by the fact that I’m certain that everyone knows that looking at such images isn’t just indicative of a warped mind; it’s also a way of facilitating and encouraging more abuse. Most of these types of images aren’t available for free, you have to pay for the dubious privilege, and you’d have to be totally naïve not to know that your money was essentially endorsing and funding more abuse. I cannot believe even The Geeky Tosspot, outcast and cretin that he admittedly is, didn’t realise this.

A hell of a discovery to make about your flatmate. Naturally, my sister is looking forward to moving out.


y-vonne said...

You have to have children to understand the strength of my response. I hope that he is jailed and they cut off choice parts of his anatomy. Remove the possibility that he can ever make the name of that video clip a reality.

deanne said...

Yikes -- and I thought enduring a smack addict ex-flatmate when I was 21 was bad.

That is some seriously scary shit man.

Shane said...

A sinking feeling soon got hold of me as I read this. I agree that the way to look at TGT is as someone who's damaged.
So damaged in fact that he's probably got a profile worthy of a career in the pop music industry, where dancing may be involved.

Very well storied.

Lanette said...

This story greatly disturbed me, as it must have for every reader. I feel for your sister and her other roommate as well, that must have been a very difficult situation in which to be placed. But I commend them for making the difficult decision to go to the police. If that had been me, knowing what was being encouraged without me speaking up would have eaten away at my conscious every day. Hopefully, this lost guy can get some help. I'm tired of reading about these tragedies on the news. Well told, Swanky. Thoughts to you and your's.

dferd said...

Wow, what a scary situation to be in. I dont blame your sister for wanting to move out. I cant imagine how she is handling living with him until she does. Creeeepy!

Rob said...


I'm left somewhat reeling by this I don't mind saying. Very very creepy indeed.

The shock of it being some-one she knows must have left your sister somewhat thrown too.

Curly said...

That's well bad - I'd have thrown a wobbly I think. You have to wonder what makes people do things like that eh?

Huw said...

Not only is it someone she knows, but also someone she's been living with for 2 years...!

Anonymous said...

imagine if it was your DAD. and you kept it a secret and let the secret eat you alive for almost 10 years until you couldn't take it anymore because it was making you crazy (literally) so much so that you thought even dying would be ok. then you finally told a therapist who promised they would never tell anyone only to turn around and report it. and the reason you never told in the first place is because you didn't want your dad to go to jail and your whole family's lives to be ruined AND you didn't think anyone would believe you anyway. so you finally have to come out and tell your family so they don't get surprised by an investigation and your mom doesn't want to believe you and your dad completely denies it. i think that's a worse story.