Two Australian brothers are preparing to see their mother jailed for arranging their father’s murder in Bali, and for the sentence to be lighter than they feel is just.
Prosecutors have recommended 15 years’ jail for Noor Ellis, who could receive the maximum penalty of death on Wednesday for planning the murder of Robert Ellis.
For their sons John and Peter, anything less than 20 years fails to recognise their loss, their father’s suffering and their mother’s betrayal.
“Anything below that is unjust,” Peter Ellis, 19, told AAP.
“For a sentence of premeditated murder to go from the death penalty down to 15 years was a shock to the entire family, and we’re still trying to come to terms with how it’s possible.”
The body of Mr Ellis, 60, was found wrapped in plastic in a rice field in Bali last October.
When his Indonesian wife of 25 years finally confessed to playing a role in the crime, she claimed she had only resorted to plotting the hit after years of neglect and being denied a divorce.
She first claimed she only wanted the men, whom she paid $14,000, to ambush her husband in their Sanur villa to “teach him a lesson”, but hadn’t wanted him killed.
By the time of a police re-enactment, she admitted she had ordered the successful businessman killed, but “not sadistically”.
Mr Ellis was held down on his kitchen floor and his throat slashed, by police accounts, “like killing a pig”.
In her defence, Ellis argued she deserved a chance to again care for her sons, who she hoped would forgive her.
But Peter Ellis says that’s impossible, particularly after she tried to smear his father’s name with allegations about their marriage that family and friends say are untrue.
“Our father was a loving, caring person, we know him best,” he said.
John Ellis, 23, who has dropped out of university since the crime, says their lives have been turned upside-down and there can be no going back.
“She has been lying to the court about supporting us, but she hasn’t done anything but make our lives a lot harder, basically hell,” he said.
Ellis’s defence even presented the court with a statement, purported to have been signed by John Ellis, asking for a lenient sentence – a document he says was a forgery.
He’s glad the trial is coming to an end, but in Indonesia’s unpredictable legal system, he is nervous about the result.
“I hope justice is done, but I have a feeling that it won’t be,” he said.
HOW NOOR ELLIS’ STORY CHANGED ABOUT THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND ROBERT:
October 25 2014:
Lawyer for Noor Ellis, Nyoman Wisnu, argues it was never supposed to go that far: “This incident happened because Noor picked the wrong person to talk to about her problems.”
November 17 2014:
During a re-enactment of the crime: “I only told you that you could kill him but not sadistically.”
April 15 2015:
In court, asked who gave the order to have Mr Ellis murdered: “Probably me … I asked Martin’s help to teach a lesson.”