The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

News Reports Index

1993 Jan-May

The Press
Wednesday May 12 1993.

Child's sex knowledge ‘beyond years’
A child complainant in the trial of a Civic Childcare Centre worker had a knowledge of sex beyond her years, her mother told the High Court yesterday.

For a time her daughter was obsessed with penises, the complainant’s mother said in cross-examination by Mr Chris Lange for the Crown.

Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis, aged 35, faces 25 charges of sexually abusing children in his care at the centre between 1986 and 1992. The trial is in its third week.

Ellis put make-up, mainly lip-slick and eyeshadow, on her daughter "every time" he babysat her.

She thought it strange but her daughter did not seem to mind so she did not worry about it.

Eventually she asked him to stop, using the excuse that it ruined the pillowcase.

When her daughter said Ellis had put things up her bottom she was so shocked she nearly began laughing.

She had noticed behavioural changes in her daughter since she had been at the creche. She was frightened of- men, though this had lessened to shyness now. Her daughter refused to go to the toilet alone at night.

While attending the creche her daughter had a sore bottom "for a long time".

In the first of three videotaped interviews recorded last year, the girl, now aged six, said Ellis had lifted her nightie up and put food up her back bottom using his fingers. It had hurt.

The incident occurred when Ellis was babysitting her at her home just before she went to bed. She had quickly run outside and taken the food out of her bottom.

Her mother had told her Ellis had made children suck his penis but she had not had to. She had seen Ellis's penis only when he was in the toilet holding it.

In a second taped interview, the girl said she had seen Ellis put his penis into children's mouths once.

The children were screaming and crying and they looked like they were going to be sick. One girl had talked about it to her. Ellis had warned them not to tell or he would hurt them again.

In a third taped interview, the girl said that when babysitting her Ellis had got a bucket of "piddle" and put it in her mouth.
The bucket came from the laundry. The incident had occurred when she was in bed fast asleep. She knew about it because Ellis had said he did it.

At her home, Ellis had got her up in the night, put his "poos" in a bowl with cheese and play-dough and made her eat it. It had tasted "disgusting".

She said she had peeped around the corner at the creche toilets and seen Ellis holding children by the head and doing "wees" into their mouth. His pants were on the floor.

In questioning yesterday by Mr Brent Stanaway for the Crown, the girl said the food Ellis put in her bottom was crusts from sandwiches, and raisins.

In cross-examination by Mr Robert Harrison, for Ellis, the girl said a woman had talked to her about Ellis before her mother asked her about him. She remembered talking to the other children about Ellis also.

She could not remember when Ellis had put the food in her bottom. It was a long time ago. He had done it just before he put nappies on her for bed.

When asked if she could be mistaken that Ellis had put food in her bottom she said she was not and that Ellis was probably lying.

Videotaped evidence from a second complainant, a boy now aged seven, was screened in the court. The boy described "drinking games" which took place in the creche's toilets.

Ellis had made the children drink "wees" from cups. The boy said he thought Ellis must have put his penis under the cup to fill it but he could not remember. The event happened more than five times.

Ellis had also put his penis into children's mouths. It felt "yukky" and tasted horrible. Ellis's penis had stayed in his mouth for a long time.

Sometimes Ellis gave the children iceblocks and said not to tell about the "secret touching".

In cross-examination by Mr Harrison, the boy said he had overheard a girl talking about what had happened. He did not really know if it had really happened.

In cross-examination by Mr Stanaway, the boy said he had been telling the truth when interviewed on the video.