Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ian's troubles...

He's one person the Shuttle admires more than many-the  6'3" former rugby league star turned actor, Ian Roberts.

They don't come much nicer than Roberts or with as much integrity. The sort of chap the term 'rough diamond' was invented for.

Currently studying at the National Institute of Dramatic Art  ( NIDA), the alma marter of the likes of Mel Gibson, Simon Baker, Judy Davis, Baz Luhrmann and Toni Collette, amongst a host of artists who have achieved international success, Robert's has already scored roles in Superman Returns , Little Fish with Cate Blanchett and the hit series about mobsters , Underbelly, A Tale of Two Cities. Some say it's harder to get into NIDA than the Britain's equivalent RADA.

Roberts, born in London, England and brought up in Australia became the star footballer for the
Manly rugby team and was renowned on the field as one tough guy.

In 1995 Roberts outed himself as gay, the first footballer to do so, and revealed football's worst kept secret. For years Ian had put up with homophobic taunts from opposing visitors at the football field although none would be foolish or brave enough to confront the brick-built Ian personally.
Rather than the expected backlash from the macho footie world, he received overwhelming support from colleagues.

Now he faces torment as he attends the inquest of the 17 year old Aaron Light, reported missing in 1997 whose body was found in a shallow grave alongside the inner city Alexandria Canal.

Light had been working as a male hustler at the infamous Wall in Darlinghurst. The Wall forms part of the convict built former jail that now serves as an art and fashion school. During the 80's and 90's it achieved a notorious reputation as a hustling ground for underaged prostitutes.

Roberts had befriended Light and was attempting to turn the young lad's life around as a mentor when he suddenly disappeared. Investigators have spoken to Roberts and have never had doubts of his intentions. In 2005 he told of the relationship with the murdered boy in the award-winning ABC's Australian Story.

But after a 2 year delay into Light's death, for Roberts the drama has become intolerable.

Yesterday at Light's inquest Roberts lashed out at an 81 year old man named as "person of interest' in the murder of the boy and had to be restrained by police.