Peter Ellis (childcare worker)

Child-care worker wrongfully convicted of child abuse

Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis (30 March 1958 – 4 September 2019) was a New Zealand childcare worker who was wrongly accused of child sexual abuse. He was a child care worker who worked in Christchurch. He was convicted in June 1993 and released from prison in February 2000. In October 2022 the Supreme Court of New Zealand said he had been wrongly accused and cleared him of all charges.

Peter Ellis
Ellis on the cover of North&South magazine in November 2015
Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis

(1958-03-30)30 March 1958
Christchurch, New Zealand
Died4 September 2019(2019-09-04) (aged 61)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Cause of deathBladder cancer
OccupationFormer child care worker

Conviction and overturn


In June 1993, Ellis was found guilty in the High Court on 16 counts of sexual offences involving children in his care at the Christchurch Civic Creche and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. Many people have said he was wrongly accused, because of the way the children were interviewed and the way their interviews were shown to the jury.

Many people believe in Ellis' innocence and many New Zealanders have supported his calls to overturn the conviction.

In 1994, the Court of Appeal removed convictions on three of the charges, but kept the sentence. His conviction and sentence were removed for a second time in the Court of Appeal in October 1999. Ellis refused to attend parole board hearings while in prison because he would have to confess to the crimes in order to argue for early release.[1] He was released in February 2000 after serving seven years in prison.

Ellis has continued to campaign to clear his name. In 2019, he appealed to the Supreme Court to have his conviction removed from his background.

The Ellis case was one of many high profile child abuse cases around the world in the 1980s and early 1990s. It has been mentioned as a reason for the decrease in the number of male teachers in New Zealand schools.[2]

In October 2022 the Supreme Court of New Zealand said he had been wrongly accused and cleared him of all charges, even though he had died in 2019.[3]

Personal life


Ellis was born in Christchurch. He was openly bisexual.[4]

On 26 July 2019, Ellis announced that he was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer.[5] He died on 4 September 2019 while appealing his conviction in Christchurch from the disease, aged 61.[6]


  1. Gilbert, Jarrod (8 February 2018). Jarrod Gilbert: Peter Ellis martyr to deranged prejudice, New Zealand Herald.
  2. "Schools 'need to appeal to boys'". The Northern Advocate. Archived from the original on 2018-06-21. Retrieved 2018-06-21.
  3. "MEDIA RELEASE: PETER HUGH MCGREGOR ELLIS v THE KING" (PDF). Supreme Court of New Zealand. Retrieved 7 October 2022.
  4. Hood, Lynley (2001). A City Possessed: The Christchurch Civic Creche Case. Longacre Press. ISBN 1-877135-62-3.
  5. "Peter Ellis diagnosed with terminal cancer as he seeks last appeal against child sex abuse convictions". TVNZ. 26 July 2019.
  6. "Convicted Civic Creche sex abuser Peter Ellis dies while appealing conviction". 4 September 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.

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