The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

News Reports Index

1993 Jan-May

Sunday News
June 20 1993

Fear keeps Ellis silent
by Matt Conway

Jailed crèche worker Peter Ellis refused to give evidence against a man accused of threatening to kill him because he feared they could end up in prison together.

Graham Roderick Clark, an unemployed 21-year-old, walked free from a Christchurch court on Friday after Ellis refused to testify for the Crown.

His mother, Lesley Ellis, told Sunday News: "Peter was panicking. He was scared of having Clark out there (in prison)."

Clark was imprisoned for an earlier vigilante-style attack on Ellis and his flatmate.

It was alleged that soon after his release, Clark revisited Ellis on March 8 and vowed to "get him" in the next 20 years and kill him if the threat was relayed to police. Clark denied the charge.

On Tuesday Ellis will be sentenced on 16 charges of sexual violation and indecencies involving children who attended the Christchurch Civic Crèche between 1986 and 1992.

An appeal is expected to be lodged after sentencing.

Ellis has spent the last fortnight isolated on remand at Addington Prison, where inmates have reportedly organised a sweepstake on who will be the first to bash the 35-year-old bisexual.

The only time he emerges from his double-bunk cell is for visits from his friends and family.

"Even though he feels the warders are protective, he doesn't, by choice, go out in the yard." His mother said.

Ellis decided to withhold testimony against Clark after talking to his defence counsel, Robert Harrison.

Ironically, the case gainst Clark was prosecuted by Crown solicitor Brent Stanaway, who convinced the crèche jury to find Ellis guilty.