It was meant to be the holiday of a lifetime for the man flying to Australia to meet a family he befriended on Facebook.
But it turned to a living hell as he was thrown behind bars, rubbing shoulders with serial killers and rapists, in Yatala Prison.
The former factory worker had tried to look up an old friend on Facebook.
A twist of fate saw an Australian woman come forward as her son shared the same name. She befriended him and two years later tempted him into flying 24,000 miles for a holiday.
Instantly his internet “friends” borrowed 140 dollars here and 180 dollars there.
He said: “I arrived with 1400 dollars (currently about £900) and by day four I had 23 dollars to my name.”
He joined the family on March 25 last year and six days later police arrested him for allegedly indecently assaulting their teenage boy and ‘grooming’ him.
The man was freed in May this year at the end of the trial in which a relative of his accusers sprang to his defence and gave evidence. The family would have won 177,000 dollars for the boy following a conviction and could have sued him personally for 150,000 dollars.
The man is clear on what he thinks of child sex offenders and says: ”I think they need hanging.”
Prison was hell.
“I was threatened a couple of times just to stay away from one or two people or else I would be knifed,” he said. “I spent 13 months in a pit with serial killers and serial rapists.”
At home in Holbeach St Johns, he had cared for his mum until she died from cancer in November 2007.
His lawyers told him it was a “mixture of grief and a little bit of naivety” that led him into the clutches of the family on Facebook and the trial judge told him not to “judge a book by its cover” in a warning about internet friendships.
Meanwhile, the man admitted that he could have avoided the whole ordeal.
Family, including his brother warned him not to go to Australia, but for him it was a chance to be with friends he’d regularly chatted to online and on the phone.
“I have got a lot of anger,” he says. “Even my brother will tell you I have changed. I hate the people who have done this.”
He’s now up to his neck in debts and would like to sue the family who duped him but it will cost 60,000 Australian dollars.
“I don’t feel like I’ve got any fight left in me,” he said.