Man pleads guilty to 'worst' child sex offences

A nationwide paedophile ring busted by police included a 24-year-old Auckland man who has admitting sharing images of child sexual abuse.

Three men have been arrested in relation to the case, with the lead offender, Aaron Ellmers, 41, appearing in Hastings District Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to a raft of child sex offences the Crown has described amongst the country's worst.

One of the offences involved Ellmers travelling to Christchurch where a father had offered his 18-month-old boy to him for $500.

The father was arrested and is facing charges related to the incident. He has name suppression.

Ellmers was arrested before he could offend against the toddler.

He also pleaded guilty to more than 20 charges making a copy of an objectionable publication and of possessing, unlawful sexual connection with a boy under 12, 11 charges of indecently assaulting a boy under 12, stupefying another person, making an intimate visual recording and making a ''forced labour'' deal using a person under 18 for sex.

Other charges included attempting sexual contact with a boy aged under two, doing an indecent act to insult and attempting unlawful sexual connection with a boy under 12.

The Auckland man, the third person involved in the ring, was charged with two counts of distribution of objectionable material and 18 charges of possessing objectionable material. His name is currently suppressed.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael, head of the Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand said the operation began in July last year and involved staff across the country and overseas.

As well as the arrests, police also made 35 referrals to police overseas.

Michaels Ellmers had served a prison sentence in Australia before being deported to New Zealand.

He lived in Australia between 1999 and 2008. In 2004 he sexually abused an eight-year-old boy, whom he had groomed after befriending his parents.

He served five years in prison and was deported back to New Zealand in 2008.

In court this morning Crown lawyer Steve Manning said it was among the worst offending of its kind. He asked for the matter to be moved to the High Court as an application for preventative detention would be made.

Ellmers' lawyer Liz Litt opposed the change of jurisdiction, but Judge Bridget Mackintosh transferred it to the High Court.

An application for name suppression by Litt was declined.

Ellmers will be sentenced in May.

The Auckland offender will be sentenced on April 18.

The Dominion Post