Twenty years later, Jandamarra O’Shane holds no grudge to man who doused him in petrol

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It's been more than 20 years since Queensland boy Jandamarra O'Shane was doused in petrol and set alight, suffering burns to 70 per cent of his body.

While his physical scars are beginning to fade, Jandamarra, now 26, says he is struggling mentally every day.

"I've been going through anxiety, depression," he told the Courier Mail.

"I think it’s always been there. I just didn’t know what it was for a long time. About two years ago, I acknowledged it as a problem."

Jandamarra O'Shane was doused with petrol and set alight in 1996. Photo: AAP / Cameron Laird
Jandamarra O'Shane was doused with petrol and set alight in 1996. Photo: AAP / Cameron Laird

Jandamarra said, “Most days I feel good”, but for a while he went through episodes of aggression aimed at his family, which upset him.

“I’m still trying to work things out. I’m still figuring out who I am,” he said, but some days he can wake up and everything “can be really dark”.

Paul Wade Streeton was sentenced to life in prison after he walked into the Cairns North State Primary School with a five-litre can of petrol and a cigarette lighter, changing Jandamarra's life forever.

Jandamarra told the publication "there's no point" in holding a grudge.

Jandamarra spent four months in hospital. Photo: AAP / Cameron Laird
Jandamarra spent four months in hospital. Photo: AAP / Cameron Laird

"I’m not wasting my energy. I know for myself, I’ve made some silly mistakes in my life," he said.

At 26 years old, Jandamarra is the same age as Streeton was when the attack happened.

As he recalls that life-changing day in 1996, Jandamarra said he was just having fun at lunchtime.

Six years old at the time, running around with his friends, and then he decided to get a drink of water while his friends ventured into an "out-of-bounds" area.

“Anytime there was trouble, it was usually me that was getting picked out,” he says.

But then, on the one day he decided not to risk it, “That’s when it happened.”

He says he forgives his attacker. Source: Instagram
He says he forgives his attacker. Source: Instagram

At the time of his sentencing, Streeton was described by then sentencing judge, Supreme Court Justice, Margaret White, as "one of the most despised and reviled persons in the community".

Jandamarra spent four months in the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane following the attack, suffering excruciating burns to 70 per cent of his body.

Over time he has had multiple skin grafts as his skin began to stretch while he grew older.

At 21 years old, Jandamarra and his partner welcomed their first baby, a boy they named Raupena.

He said he has fond memories of the doctor who helped him on his road to recovery – surgeon Professor Stuart Pegg, who retired in 2006.

Jandamarra's attacker was sentenced to life in prison. Source: Instagram
Jandamarra's attacker was sentenced to life in prison. Source: Instagram

“I’ve often hoped to see him again,” Jandamarra said about his attacker who has remained in his life as a phantom that has been “calling the shots”.

"He’s a warrior in his own way, I’d like to say,” he said.

He said he hopes to one day meet his attacker. Photo: AAP / Cameron Laird
He said he hopes to one day meet his attacker. Photo: AAP / Cameron Laird

Jandamarra said previously in 2011 he would like to meet his attacker and “just let him know” he forgives him.

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