Peter Ellis, man at centre of Chch creche sex case, has died

6:40 pm on 4 September 2019

Peter Ellis, who was at the centre of the Christchurch creche sex case, has died, his lawyer has confirmed to RNZ.

Peter Ellis, pictured in 1992

Peter Ellis, pictured in 1992 Photo: Supplied

Ellis, who was 61 years old, served seven years of a 10-year jail sentence for abusing seven children at the Christchurch Civic Creche in 1991.

He always maintained his innocence.

Three convictions were overturned in 1994 after one of the children said she lied.

Ellis' legal team filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in July to consider whether there was a miscarriage of justice due to the children's evidence being improperly obtained, a lack of expert evidence and unreliable expert evidence at his trial.

A statement from his lawyer Nigel Hampton said Ellis died peacefully surrounded by family and friends. He had bladder cancer.

Mr Hampton said he saw him yesterday and realised his death was imminent.

"It comes as sadness but not as a surprise," he said.

"His abiding reason for struggling on for as long as he has done against this illness has been to see this case through to the Supreme Court and to see his name cleared."

Lynley Hood, author of A City Possessed - a book about Ellis' child abuse case, said his death was tragic and she was sad he never got to witness the Supreme Court appeal.

"Even when you're expecting it, you know, death comes as a shock - it's so final.

"He just wanted to get it right, and of course there was such concern that the justice system had failed and had failed to self correct."

Ms Hood said Ellis had fought a long battle to clear his name.