The mother of a serial Hastings child sex offender says she is shocked at the scale of his crimes.
Her son, truck driver Aaron John Ellmers, 40, described as one of the country's worst sex offenders, planned and plotted ways to steal children away from their parents so he could abuse them and then trade images of his crimes around the world.
The most sickening breach of trust was his last, after he found a father willing to rent out his 13-month-old son for Ellmers' perverse use for $500.
His mother, who did not wish to be identified out of fears she would be attacked because of her son's crimes, said neither she nor her husband knew of their son's crimes.
"My heart has to go out to the families that he hurt and we didn't know that he was doing such a thing," she said.
"I asked him why he did it. He couldn't answer me."
Earlier reports said he also lied to his mother about being jailed in Australia eight years ago after trying to rape an 8-year-old boy, telling her instead it was for a traffic offence.
"He never told us. All I knew was he was in a trucking accident. He hid it so well."
She said even as a child, Ellmers wouldn't communicate. She now wanted to confront him in prison.
It's understood the Crown would seek a sentence of preventive detention, meaning he could spend the rest of his life behind bars. "I may never see him again and that's the thing that hurts," his mother said.
In Hastings District Court this week, he pleaded guilty to about 60 charges including sexual violation of children, stupefying, making an intimate visual recording, dealing in people for sexual exploitation and attempted sexual conduct with a child under 12.
He was understood to be fearing for his safety in prison.
Child protection agency ECPAT Child ALERT yesterday released a statement claiming the horrific paedophile deserved a "robust" sentencing.
The protection agency said the case was of concern, particularly as it was understood four New Zealand children were saved from further abuse because of Ellmers' arrest.
Director Alan Bell described the offending as outrageous.
"I hope the sentencing is robust enough to cause this offender to reflect on the damage he has done to innocent and vulnerable victims.
"He needs to receive treatment over a period of time to ensure he can be rehabilitated back into society and not be a threat to other children in the future."
He said child pornography was more accurately defined as child "sex abuse images".
"These are images of real children who know the pain and suffering of violent rape and sexual abuse. Very often this abuse results in post traumatic stress disorder that can negatively affect the victim for a lifetime.
"The dealing in child sex abuse images via the internet by organised criminal rings is increasing. Most of these sites originate overseas but this is not the first case of a New Zealander exploiting our own children. The disturbing reality is that there is a demand from people willing to pay to view such images and this results in an industry where children are marketed as commodities."
The police and Department of Internal Affairs had specialised units to monitor and track down offenders.
"It is great that in this case, the police have been able to recover the child victims and protect them from further abuse," Mr Bell said. "However, we all need to take responsibility for children and do what we can to prevent this totally unacceptable criminal activity."
Ellmers is to be sentenced in the High Court at Napier in May.