He claimed that his crimes weren’t serious, as he had paid his victims ‘generously’.

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For years, a paedophile roamed the streets of Bali looking for vulnerable children to exploit and abuse. The man lured victims back to his house with the promise of gifts.

Until finally, he was stopped…

Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis left his home in Victoria, Australia, and relocated to Bali.

But Ellis, now 70, didn’t choose the Indonesian island for its tropical weather and beautiful beaches.

Instead, he preyed upon poor, vulnerable children who roamed the streets.

Ellis targeted young girls whose impoverished parents made them hustle for 50,000 rupiah (around £3) a day.

Once he’d befriended them, Ellis would take them back to his rental property in Tabanan, central Bali.

The depraved OAP would then insist on bathing the children, slapping them if they refused, and sexually molesting them if they didn’t.

If the girls agreed to spend the night, Ellis would pay them up to 2million rupiah (£120) – the equivalent of a month’s salary.

He also offered the poverty- stricken children gifts such as clothing, toys and sandals.

Ellis got away with his sick scheme for four years.

But in January last year he was finally arrested after aid workers informed the authorities about his suspicious behaviour.

Former Australian policeman Glen Hulley helped, describing it as ‘by far the worst case I’ve ever seen of an Australian committing this kind of offence in Bali’.

Hulley founded Project Karma – a charity to stop the child exploitation trade in Southeast Asia.

Even after his arrest, Ellis insisted he shouldn’t go to prison because molesting girls aged between 8 and 17 was ‘not a serious thing’, because he’d ‘paid themgenerously’.

‘I have settled with the girls completely,’ Ellis claimed.

Ellis even said he’d a ‘grandfatherly affection’ for his victims and tearfully pleaded the payments should be considered equal compensation.

In a bizarre letter to the Denpasar District Court, written in the third person, the expatriate Australian wrote, Mr Ellis is not the kind of man who deserves imprisonment.

He paid the girls in full immediately after the liberties were taken and the law in full in his 16-week ordeal in the Polda (police) remand cell.

In another letter, Ellis explained his experience in jail had been worse for him because people didn’t dare visit him.

He also admitted he targeted young girls in Indonesia because he couldn’t do so in Australia.

Ellis wrote, I am solitary and unmarried and my sex instinct was not ministered to in my own country. In all probability my young friends desperately want me returned to them.

At a news conference, Ellis shamelessly maintained his innocence.

‘Try and interview the girls if you can, try and interview the girls and see if they want me in here being punished,’ he said.

Despite his pleas, last October, Ellis appeared at Denpasar District Court. There, it was revealed how he’d groomed and molested up to 11 young girls over a two-year period.

His lawyer said Ellis apologised to the Balinese people and had cried because he had brought shame upon Australia.

He’d admitted he was an ‘advanced paedophile’ and suffered a ‘chronic illness that was very difficult to treat’.

Locals protest against the offences (Photo: Getty Images)

But it wasn’t nearly enough to mitigate the damage he’d done to the victims.

Ellis was found guilty of persuading children to commit an indecent act.

He requested a brief moment to pray before hearing his fate.

Sentencing Ellis, the judge said, ‘He has been proven to have molested children in Bali, which has a big impact for their future psychological development.’

The judge added Ellis had also damaged the image of Bali as a tourist destination, which could lead to a decrease in income for Indonesia.

As a result, Ellis was handed a 15-year prison sentence and ordered to pay a fine of two billion rupiah (around £120,000).

‘I have nothing more to say, I’m sorry. Well, I am 70 now, 15 years would take me to 85. I don’t know if I’ll live that long,’ Ellis told reporters.

Referring to the girls he’d abused, Ellis added, ‘I haven’t murdered anybody and none of my friends want me in prison, I am sure of that.’

However, following the case, the Australian government has pledged to crack down on paedophiles such as Robert Ellis, who travel to other countries and abuse poor children.

In November, it was revealed more than 800 registered sex offenders left Australia in 12 months, with 300 of them travelling to Southeast Asia.

As part of the crackdown, the government has said it will ban sex offenders leaving the country.

Writing on the Project Karma Facebook page after the sentencing, campaigner Glen Hulley posted, Robert Andrew Ellis, you are a child sexual predator who indulged your urges for many years undetected before we caught up with you.

You are a vile, despicable human being who shows no sign of remorse for your actions. It’s offensive that you continue to portray to the court and the media that you are some caring old man who was just helping some poor children, whom you claim have been paid for their ‘inconvenience’ and that they love you and miss you and that they don’t want to see you punished.

Ellis’ lawyer said his client would appeal against the sentence.