The man whose child sex abuse case gripped the city of Christchurch and the nation, has died.

Peter Ellis’ death comes just five weeks before his last bid to clear his name before the Supreme Court.

The 61-year-old was jailed for a decade in 1993, on 16 counts of sexual offending against seven children at the Christchurch Civic creche.

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He served seven years behind bars, and was released in 2000.

Ellis has always maintained his innocence, and in the book A City Possessed, the allegations, gender politics at the time, and the law were put under scrutiny.

“The family are immensely proud of Peter and the dignified way he lived his life and wish to thank everyone for their support and to those who took time to visit and send best wishes to Peter,” a statement released on Wednesday said.

Ellis had already appealed his convictions twice. The first appeal revoked three convictions, but his second appeal was dismissed in 1999.

There was also a petition put forward to Parliament in 2003.

He had been battling cancer, and died peacefully surrounded by family and friends.

Supporters of Ellis said a decision to deny him a Commission of Inquiry was unjust.

Former ACT Party leader Don Brash was one of those who called for the inquiry, which was denied in 2015. He also initiated the petition in 2003.

“People in every party in Parliament signed that petition, 11 law professors signed it, one of Amy Adams’ own Cabinet colleagues believes Peter Ellis to be innocent – she had children in that crèche when he was alleged to be committing his offences,” Brash said in 2015.

By Mel Logan and Mark Quinlivan
Published in News Hub
4 September 2019