August 2019: Attacked in prison

January 2018

‘If he died tomorrow I’d be glad’: Child abuser jailed for 23 years

An-ex Merchant Navy officer has been jailed for 23 years for a “campaign of rape” against primary school pupils.

Paedophile Emanuel Spitari’s victims were so young, one hadn’t realised he had been abused until he started sex education years later.

Another still suffers “horrendous nightmares” decades after the now 59-year-old stopped.

On Friday, one victim watched on as his glum-looking tormentor was told he would be an old man before he was released.

And in a powerful victim statement, one of Spitari’s victims admitted: “If he died tomorrow I would be glad.”

The crimes commenced when Spitari was a youth himself.

They happened so long ago, the maximum sentence for most of the offences then was just two years.

But Judge Howard Crowson said the offences would now be classed as child rape.

And Teesside Crown Court heard how he was finally brought to justice years later due to the bravery of his victims speaking out.

Those victims, the sentencing heard, were now adults and some were parents themselves.

However two of them told how they struggle to interact with their own children due to Spitari’s crimes.

Another tried blacking out what the Darlington pervert did.

All victims spoke of the difficulty of going through December’s lengthy trial after Spitari denied all 11 counts against him.

However he was unanimously convicted by a jury, with one victim adding: “It shows the justice system does work.”

Another added: “I know now that I’ve been believed and (the defendant) will come to pay the price for what he has done.”

That price was a sentence of 23 years, with a further two on licence.

In mitigation, Spitari was portrayed as a hard-working “family man” who hadn’t committed another offence before – or since- the attacks.

But during the abuse, he manipulated the children in order to try and keep his attacks covered up.

“All of these men kept these matters secret,” added Judge Crowson.

“All of them thought they were your only victim.”

The court heard they struggled with what had happened, but the judge added: “They should not blame themselves.

“They are victims.”

Appearing via video link from Durham Prison, Spitari, of Larchfield Street, remained silent as he was jailed.

As part of his punishment, the sex offender is prohibited from spending unsupervised time with children for the rest of his life.

After sentencing him, the judge told Spitari: “Your release is many years away.”

Spitari was once beaten up by one of his victims and drove around with the word “nonce” scratched all over his car

The graffiti was scored into the metalwork on both sides of his car in large letters more than a decade before he was brought to justice in the courts.

But former coach driver Spitari who had been in the Merchant Navy for eight years, claimed he had no idea what “nonce” meant.

In his trial, he said he drove around with the insult scrawled on his vehicle until his boss explained it to him.

Spitari’s victims were so young, one hadn’t realised he had been abused until he started sex education many years later.