A paedophile who today pleaded guilty to what the Crown describe as among the country's worst child sex offending survived a deadly fire at an Australian backpackers' lodge in 2000.
Aaron Ellmers, 41, appeared in Hastings District Court this morning and pleaded guilty to a raft of child sex offences, including one in which involved Ellmers travelling to Christchurch and offering a man $500 for "sexual gratification" with the man's 18-month-old boy.
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.
Ellmers pleaded guilty to more than 20 charges making a copy of an objectionable publication and of possessing and unlawful sexual connection with a boy under 12.
He also pleaded guilty to 11 charges of indecently assaulting a boy under 12, stupefying another person, making an intimate visual recording, making a ''forced labour'' deal using a person under 18 for sex, attempting sexual contact with a boy aged under 2, doing an indecent act to insult and attempting unlawful sexual connection with a boy under 12.
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 Ms Litt was declined.
Ellmers will be sentenced in May.
INTERNATIONAL PAEODPHILE RING SMASHED
Ellmers is part of a paedophile ring smashed by police, said detective senior sergeant John Michael, head of the Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand.
Mr Michael said the operation began in July last year and involved staff across the country and overseas.
Two other men, one in Canterbury and one in Auckland are before the courts facing charges similar to those as Ellmers.
Police also made 35 referrals to police overseas.
Ellmers survived a fire which killed 15 people at a Childers backpacker hostel in 2000, and was later convicted of perjury after lying about Robert Paul Long, the man accused of starting the fire and found guilty of murder.
Ellmers, who had recently arrived in Australia from New Zealand, was working as a fruitpicker in the Childers area and staying at the hostel when it was burnt down.
In January 2001, he told Long's committal hearing that a few weeks before the fire, he returned to the hostel late one night and ''smelled something like papers that were burning''.
Ellmers said he saw Long standing on a chair in the hostel foyer ''testing'' the smoke alarm by holding a smouldering piece of paper near it.
On February 13, 2002, five days before Long's trial started, Ellmers told police he had lied when he claimed Long had tested the smoke alarm.
Ellmers said he had made up the story because friends of his were killed in the fire and he wanted to get Long ''put away''.
He was not called as a witness at the trial.
Ellmers was convicted of perjury in the Bundaberg Supreme Court in November 2003, and given a suspended sentence.
In late 2005, Ellmers - working as a truck drver at the time - was sentenced in Brisbane District Court to five years' jail for the digital rape, attempted rape and indecent treatment of a seven-year-old boy, the son of a couple Ellmers had befriended.
He lived in Australia between 1999 and 2008.
He served five years in prison and was deported back to New Zealand in 2008.
- © Fairfax NZ News