Home' Greymouth Star : April 17th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, April 17, 2015
The Balinese woman who hired
hitmen to murder her Australian
husband has told a court that she
wanted to teach him a lesson because
he refused to give her money or grant
her a divorce.
Noor Ellis admitted a role in the
killing of her 60-year-old husband,
businessman Robert Ellis, at their
home in Bali last October. His body,
with wrists and feet bound, was found
wrapped in plastic, dumped in a ditch
in a rice field near Sedang village.
Ellis faced court this week charged
with the premeditated killing of her
husband of 20 years, and explained
that he was now “in heaven”.
She told Judge Beslin Sihombing
that her husband died “because of the
order from me”.
The Balinese national, who has
two sons with her late husband,
was arrested along with seven other
people, including the couple’s two
former maids and the boyfriend of
one of the maids.
“For a long time he hadn’t given me
sufficient (money), (he) even took the
money for my kids’ schooling,” Ellis
told the court.
“Because his attitude didn’t change,
I couldn’t stand it any more. Once I
asked for divorce but he didn’t want
to,” she said.
“ He said we should just go on, in
our own way.”
Urbanus Yohanes Ghoghi, 23, who
slit Mr Ellis’s throat, told the court in
graphic detail of the roles he and four
other men played in the killing.
Noor Ellis gave one of the men,
Martin, a towel and a pillow, and
asked his “help to teach a lesson”.
The men first tried to suffocate him,
but when their victim fought back,
Martin handed him the kitchen knife
he used to slash his throat.
After wards, Ellis handed Martin
the plastic to wrap her husband’s
body in, Urbanus told the court.
“That night, Mrs Noor gave 50
million rupiahs ($5000) to Martin.
It was then split, 10 million rupiahs
each,” he said.
“ Martin also said to us that
tomorrow, there will be more.”
In early January police reportedly
handed a brief of evidence to
prosecutors which claimed the
victim’s wife paid hit-men 150
million rupiah, or $A14,200.
The court heard that Mrs Ellis
told her husband ’s killers “to be
neat ” when they murdered him,
and called a meeting prior to his
murder to ensure the men knew the
“Mrs Noor said that when killing
Mr Bob, don’t use a sharp weapon,”
“Close his nose and mouth with a
pillow only. To be neat, basically.”
Ellis faces the death penalty if
she is found guilty of the charge of
premeditated murder, which her two
sons, Peter and John, said they are
Both sons have refused to attend
their mother’s court hearing, and said
that they want to see justice for their
father. “If that (the death penalty)
happens, it happens,” Peter said.
“But we want justice for our dad no
Mr Ellis was set upon in his own
Bali kitchen by the killers who
slashed his throat “like killing a pig”,
police said, after Ellis employed the
men along with two housemaids to
clean up the murder.
His wife, who was taken into
custody after confessing to her role
in the crime, helped local officials to
recreate the murder.
“There is no doubt this was an
execution-style murder,” a senior
police officer in the Bali capital,
Ida Bagus Putu Alit, who headed
the district ’s forensic team, said Mr
Ellis’s throat had been slashed three
“One of the wounds to the throat
was fatal, but he also had several
bruises around his head, suggesting
he had been knocked to the ground
before receiving the fatal throat
wound,” he said.
Peter and John text messaged their
mother to ask where their father was
to which she chillingly replied, “I ’ll
ask him when I see him.”
When Ellis was arrested at the end
of last year, she admitted to police
and her two Perth-based sons that
she paid $14,000 to men to carry out
the murder with her motive likely
being his $30 million estate.
Noor’s lawyers have claimed that
Robert was abusive and the hit men
were only paid to scare her husband,
not murder him.
Police have also alleged Noor
confessed to ordering his murder
because he cheated on her ‘often’ and
has claimed that she was possessed
by a spirit or a monster and pushed
to organise Robert ’s killing by an
outside supernatural force.
Her sons have told The West
Australian newspaper of the perils
they face, not only of a life without
their father, but potentially without
their mother as well.
Ellis also has two other children
from a former relationship. At the
time of their father’s death, the four
children and Mr Ellis’s brother John
released a joint statement.
“ Bob was a loving and devoted
father, grandfather, brother, son and
husband. His loss leaves a hole in the
lives of everyone he touched.”
“ His work in business created jobs
for thousands of Indonesians. He was
a good and honourable man.
“ His integrity, generosity and
spirit is evidenced by the way the
business community both expat and
Indonesian have rallied to support us
and show their respects.” — AAP-AP
Murder arranged ‘to teach a lesson’
Reggio Calabria (Italy)
Italian police say they have arrested
a group of African migrants after
witnesses said they threw 12 passengers
overboard following a row about religion
on a boat headed to Europe.
The deadly dispute, which saw a group
of Muslim passengers allegedly attack a
group of Christian passengers, coincided
with reports of a new migrant drowning
Four days after a migrant shipwreck off
the coast of Libya, in which 400 people
are believed to have died, another 41
migrants were missing feared drowned
overnight after their dinghy sank on the
way to Italy, Italian media reported.
The stricken vessel was spotted by
a plane, which alerted the Italian
coastguard but by the time a navy ship
arrived at the spot only four passengers
were found alive, the reports quoted the
police and aid agencies as saying.
The four sur vivors, who came from
Nigeria, Ghana and Niger, said they
were part of a group of 45 people that
set sail from Libya.
A separate group of migrants rescued
by an Italian vessel related a deadly
stand-off over religion in their dinghy,
which ended in 12 Nigerian and
Ghanaian passengers being drowned,
the police said.
The victims were “of Christian faith,
compared to their attackers who were of
Muslim faith,” police in the Sicilian port
of Palermo said in a statement.
Fifteen migrants were arrested on
suspicion of “multiple aggravated
murder motivated by religious hate”, the
The incident aboard the vessel, which
was carrying about 100 migrants, took
place in the Strait of Sicily, between
Tunisia and Italy.
The remaining passengers were rescued
and brought to Palermo, where the 15
alleged attackers, who came from Ivory
Coast, Mali and Senegal, were arrested.
The boat, like many of the vessels
flooding Italy’s shores each week with
migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in
Africa and the Middle East, had set out
from Libya on Tuesday, according to the
Italy pleaded for more help from other
European Union countries overnight to
rescue the migrants risking their lives to
reach Europe and to share the burden of
accommodating the arrivals. — AFP
Deadly row on way to Europe
A young woman has managed to
find her doppelganger after launching
a campaign on Facebook as a social
experiment — and their likeness is
Niamh Geaney, a 26-year-old
television presenter from Dublin,
teamed up with two male friends on
a project they dubbed Twin Strangers
to see who could find their closest
lookalike within 28 days, and were
soon inundated with submissions from
all over the world.
Incredibly, Niamh found her match
in Karen Branigan, 29, a fellow
Ireland native who lives just an hour
down the road, making it easy for the
pair to meet in real life and take some
eerily twin-like photos together.
Speaking to Mail On-line about her
first meeting with Karen, Niamh said:
“ I was ridiculously ner vous about how
I would react to meeting someone
who looks like me.
“ For the entire duration of our
encounter I pretty much stared at her.
I couldn’t get over her face, and some
of the expressions she would pull I
would think to myself or say aloud,
‘Oh my God that ’s my face. ’
“ I can’t remember the number of
times I said, ‘ This is so freaky’. It was
Karen, who is currently in between
jobs, has five sisters and a brother.
Niamh has two sisters, and both girls
agree that none of their siblings look
anywhere near as similar to them as
they do to one another.
Niamh said the pair got on “ very
well” as they both applied makeup
before the shoot, swapping beauty tips
and mar velling at their similarities.
“ I would say Karen is the shyer of
the two of us,” Niamh remarked. “ But
then you have to remember this was
an even more surreal experience for
her than it was for me.
“I knew what search I was
embarking on. I’m the weirdo who
contacted Karen out of the blue and
asked her to meet me in person.”
Since meeting, Niamh and Karen
— who are both single — say
they ’ve been chatting on Facebook
While Niamh appears to have
beaten her fellow Twin Strangers
participants, 21-year-old Harry and
22-year-old Terence, hands down, the
search is not over until April 27.
“ I think I have two, maybe three at
a push who resemble me. But they ’re
definitely not as close a match as
Karen to Niamh,” Harry says.
“ I’m trailing further behind,” admits
Terence. “Must be a guy thing. They
tend to be a bit too shy to participate.
Not sure if being originally from sub-
Saharan Africa has anything to do
Niamh, who is still promoting the
project across social media with Harry
and Terence as interest spreads, says
there will be no prize for the winner,
They are inviting others from around
the world to join in too now, by
adding users’ photos to their Facebook
“There is a huge human curiosity
element to it,” Niamh said. “Can you
imagine how surreal it would be to
meet someone who looked exactly like
you?” — PA
Strangers so alike they could be twins
Niamh, left, and her stranger twin Karen.
US support for death penalty declines
Support for the death penalty in the
United States has fallen to its lowest
level in 40 years.
The finding came from a sur vey
published overnight, just days before
the sentencing phase of the trial
that will determine whether Boston
bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, is
sentenced to death or life in prison.
The Pew Research Centre found
56% favour the death penalty for
people convicted of murder, down 6%
since 2011, while 38% are opposed.
The sur vey found that nearly two-
thirds, 63%, believe the death penalty
is morally justified for a crime like
murder. Just 31% said it is morally
wrong even in cases of murder.
In 1996, 78% favoured the death
penalty and support for capital
punishment was often above 70%
throughout much of the 1980s and
1990s, the centre said.
Much of the falling support comes
from Democrats. Currently, 56% of
Democrats are opposed to the death
penalty. In 1996, Democrats favoured
capital punishment by 71% to 25%.
Pew said there had been less
change among Republicans, 77% of
respondents who identify with the
more conser vative party favour the
death penalty down from 87% in
The sur vey was based on telephone
inter views conducted with 1500
adults across the US between March
25 and 29. It carried an overall margin
of error of 2.9%.
Twelve prisoners on death row have
been executed in the United States so
far this year.
Tsarnaev was convicted last week of
carrying out the April 2013 bombings
in Boston that killed three people and
wounded 264 others.
Seventeen of his 30 convictions
carry the death penalty under federal
law. — AFP
The boss of a technology
start-up in Seattle has shocked
his employees by raising his
company ’s minimum wage to
$US70,000 ($92,160) — and
funding it by cutting his own
$1 million salary to the same
Dan Price, the founder and
chief executive of Gravity
Payments, a credit-card payment
processing company, told staff he
would reduce his own wages and
eat into the company ’s profits
to raise the salaries of the fir m’s
“ You might be making $35,000
a year right now but everyone in
here will definitely be making
$70,000 a year and I’m super
excited about that,” Price, 30, who
started the company as a teenager,
The national minimum wage in
the United States is about $7 an
hour — $17,000 in gross annual
Price decided to raise his
employees’ pay after reading a
study about happiness in the
The research by Angus
Deaton, a Nobel Prize-
winning economist, and Daniel
Kahneman, a psychologist, found
that emotional well-being rises
with income, but only to a point
— about $75,000 a year.
“The market rate for me as a
chief executive compared to a
regular person is ridiculous, it’s
absurd,” Price said.
He did not think it was right
that he should earn up to 100
times more than most of the rest
of his staff.
The chief executives of Standard
and Poor’s 500 companies made
354 times the average wages of
US workers in 2012.
Gravity Payments paid an
average salary of $48,000. Of its
120 employees, 70 will see their
pay cheques grow. Thirty will
double their salaries. The change
will be phased in over the next
Price owns a three-bedroom
house and drives a 12-year-
old Audi, but said his friends
included the super-rich.
“ I’m a big believer in less: the
more you have, sometimes the
more complicated your life gets,”
he said. — PA
Boss takes $900,000 pay cut so staff get more
Gravity Payments head Dan Price has taken a pay cut so he can raise the wages of lowest-paid staff.
Charlie Hebdo editor blasts
critics from the grave
who accused the satirical
magazine Charlie Hebdo
of going too far by
publishing drawings of
the Prophet Mohammed
are guilty of “disgusting
paternalism”, the satirical
weekly’s murdered editor
claims in a book published
message from beyond the grave will rock
the sense of national unity following the
Paris terrorist attacks in which three
terrorists shot dead 17 people before
Charb, as he was known, finished Open
Letter to the Fraudsters of Islamophobia
who Play into Racists’ Hands two days
before he was among 12 killed in the
first attack by Islamist extremists to
“avenge” the publication of drawings.
The book accuses the media of
fomenting hatred against the magazine
and the former right-wing French
President Nicolas Sarkozy
of “freeing up” racism in
It criticises Islamists
who apply the Koran to
the letter as if they were
“putting up Ikea shelves”,
and are ready to “cut the
infidels’ throats along the
dotted line other wise God
will deprive me of Club
Med in the afterlife”.
But it saves its heaviest
salvos for left-leaning intellectuals,
described as “ridiculous demagogues”
for accusing Charlie Hebdo of going
too far by publishing the drawings.
Many of those intellectuals joined mass
street demonstrations after Charb’s
death under the “Je Suis Charlie”
“The suggestion that you can laugh
at everything, except certain aspects
of Islam, because Muslims are much
more susceptible than the rest of
the population, what is that, if not
discrimination?” it asks. — AP
A Ukrainian journalist known
for his pro-Russian views was shot
dead overnight in Kiev, a day after
the killing of a political supporter of
ousted Moscow-backed President
Viktor Yanukovich, driving up
tension between Moscow and Kiev.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
said the murders were political
while Ukrainian President Petro
Poroshenko described them as
deliberate acts which “play into the
hands of our enemies” and ordered
an immediate and transparent
The killing of Oles Buzina, who
views in a daily newspaper, and
of ex-parliamentary deputy Oleh
Kalashnikov were the latest in a
spate of mystery deaths among
allies of Yanukovich, who fled to
Moscow last year.
Ukrainian officials and political
analysts suggested they were the
work of Russian special forces
assassins out to blacken the image
of Kiev ’s pro-western authorities.
Buzina, 45, wrote pro-Russian
opinion pieces for Ukraine’s
Sevodnya daily, owned by Ukraine’s
Akhmetov. He ran in last year’s
parliamentary election on behalf of
the Russian Bloc party, but was not
He was shot by assailants from a
car in the middle of the day as he
came out of the block of apartments
near Kiev city centre where he lived.
“ Today at 1.20pm (local time)
. . . two unidentifiable men in masks
shot journalist Oles Buzina,” the
interior ministry said in an on-line
A video clip showed a man lying
on his back, surrounded by police
and first aid workers. There was
a heavy blood stain on his upper
Kalashnikov, 52, a former member
of parliament for Yanukovich’s
discredited Party of Regions, was
shot dead inside a multi-storey
block as he went up to his eighth-
An interior ministry adviser said
both victims played a part in the
“Anti-Maidan” movement, which
opposed pro-western protests that
ousted Yanukovich in February
2014 and were witnesses in criminal
cases relating to pro-Russian
activists who attacked protesters on
the Maidan in early 2014.
The former president fled to
Russia after weeks of street protests
against his rule in which more than
100 people were shot dead in Kiev.
Russia later annexed Ukraine’s
Crimean peninsula and pro-
Russian separatists rebelled in the
east, triggering a conflict in which
more than 6000 people have been
deputies belonging to the Party
of Regions were found dead from
apparently self-inflicted gunshot
wounds in March. Another
prominent party worker killed
himself in February by throwing
himself out of a window and a
fourth party member was found
In Moscow, Putin, during a
televised call-in show overnight,
said Buzina’s and Kalashnikov’s
deaths and other such incidents
were politically motivated and
accused Kiev of failing to bring
anyone to justice.
“ We are facing a whole series of
such (political) killings in Ukraine,”
he said, contrasting the killings in
Ukraine with the murder of Russian
opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in
Moscow in March where, he said,
the killers had been arrested.
“In Ukraine which claims to be a
democratic state and has aspirations
towards democratic Europe there
has been nothing similar. Where
are the killers of these people?
Where are the people who carried
them out and those who ordered
them? They aren’t there. In Europe
and North America they prefer not
to notice this,” he said. — Reuters
Finger-pointing over Ukrainian killings
More MH17 human
More human remains and personal
belongings have been recovered from the
site of downed Malaysian Airlines flight
MH17 after Dutch investigators gained
access to sites that were previously too
dangerous to search.
The head of the recovery team, Pieter-
Jan Aalbersberg, said the work focused
on three sites that had previously been
inaccessible because of fighting in
the region between Russian-backed
separatists and government forces.
In addition to the human remains
found by the team, “there was also
personal property from the passengers
handed over by local residents,”
All 298 passengers and crew aboard the
plane died, the majority of them D utch.
Among those killed were 38 Australian
citizens and residents. Work is expected
to continue at the new sites for several
more weeks, assuming the security
situation remains stable. Even then it
remains dangerous, as land mines have
reportedly been spread in the area.
Western officials have blamed the
July 17, 2014, crash of MH17, which
was headed from Amsterdam to Kuala
Lumpur, on a rocket fired by the
separatists, who have been waging an
armed campaign for almost a year to
break the eastern part of the country
away from Ukraine.
The separatists dispute this account.
Two victims have still not been
identified. — DPA
Cape Canaveral (Florida)
A National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (Nasa) spacecraft that
made surprising discoveries of ice and
other materials on Mercury will make
a crash landing into the planet around
April 30, scientists said overnight.
The Mercury Surface,
Ranging, or Messenger, probe has been
circling the innermost planet of the solar
system for more than four years, the first
close-up studies of Mercury since Nasa’s
Mariner 10 spacecraft made three flybys
in the mid-1970s.
Out of fuel and losing altitude,
Messenger is expected to make a high-
speed crash near the planet ’s north
pole about 3.25am EDT on April 30,
flight controllers told reporters during a
webcast news conference.
“The spacecraft will pass behind the
planet, out of view from the Earth,
and will just not emerge again,” Daniel
O’Shaughnessy, systems engineer with
Johns Hopkins University applied
physics laboratory, which operates the
The impact at 14,040kph will leave a
fresh crater, roughly 16m in diameter,
that should ser ve as an interesting
reference point for a follow-on European
spacecraft called Bepi Colombo, which
is due to arrive in 2024.
The crater may help scientists learn
more about the planet ’s unexpectedly
fast weathering processes, one of dozens
of Messenger’s finding.
Topping the lead scientist ’s list of
Messenger discoveries is the detection
of elements such as potassium and
sulphur on the planet ’s surface, volatiles
that should have evaporated under the
presumably scorching conditions 58
million km from the sun where Mercury
formed and orbits today. Earth, by
comparison, is about 150 million km
from the sun.
Messenger also confirmed the existence
of ices and other materials, possibly even
carbon-based organics, on the floors of
craters where sunlight never shines.
As it makes its final descent toward
the planet ’s surface, Messenger will
attempt to peer directly inside targeted
craters, lead scientist Sean Solomon,
with Columbia University’s Lamont-
Doherty Earth Obser vatory in New
It also will look for magnetized crust
in an effort to flesh out the odd story of
why such a tiny planet has such a strong,
and recently discovered asymmetrical,
magnetic field. — Reuters
Mercury mission heads
to a crashing end
Russian President Vladimir Putin earned
about $151,000 in 2014, less than many
others in the presidential administration,
according to details of his income
declaration published by the Kremlin.
Putin’s wealth has long been the focus
of speculation by opponents who portray
him as one of the richest men in the
world, allegations he has dismissed.
Putin declared ownership of three
Russian cars, a trailer, some land, an
apartment and a garage. His earnings of
7.65 million rubles compared to about 3.6
million rubles in 2013, which was about
$100,000 at the exchange rate a year ago.
The Kremlin did not say how much of
the 2014 income was made up by Putin’s
salary, which is not public knowledge,
but was raised a year ago. His declaration
in the past included a KGB pension and
interest from bank deposits. He earned
much less last year than Barack Obama,
who was paid $400,000 for his position
as US president and had additional
income from book sales. — Reuters
Putin earns less than many underlings
Robert and Noor Ellis
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