MRCPsych FRANZCP MNZAPC
St Elmo Center 47 Hereford Street
PO Box 3221 Christchurch New Zealand
Telephone (03) 365-4073 Fax (03)
28 August 1992
Det Sgt. John Ell
Re Videotaped interviews with Tommy and Katrina
As requested, I have reviewed the videotapes of the Specialist Services
interviews with Tommy
with a view to determining the likely credibility of the information
disclosed in them and matters arising from those interviews which might be
useful to follow up.
1. Credibility and Risk of
were made in March while Tommy's
were not recorded until May and August. This makes all the more significant
certain comments made by both children, particularly little things that may
not have been known to parents. At the time Katrina was interviewed, my understanding is
that parents generally were not considering the involvement of other adults
nor speculating about nor questioning their children on what they believed
to be characteristics of 'ritual' abuse, yet she makes reference in her
last interview to other adults.
It is clear that Katrina's
parents elicited disclosures of abuse by Peter ELLIS by highly leading
brother and parents did the same. In Tommy's case, the parents subjected him to
intensive interrogation pertaining to 'ritual' abuse between the three August
interviews which were on consecutive days. Tommy would then disclose in the next
interview with Sue Sidey the information elicited by his parents the
These facts could make it easy to dismiss the children's statements as
having little probative value whether or not they might be accurate. It
also makes the similarities between their statements extra important,
particularly in matters unlikely to have been influenced by the parents.
Both children refer to the following:
being abused by PETER in the creche
being afraid of PETER
PETER making threats regarding
being out of the Creche with PETER
being at a house they identify as
travelling in 'PETER's' car
other children being present when
sexual things have happened, especially at places outside the Creche
other adults being present at
'PETER's' house and being involved in sexual behaviour with children
sexual abuse of themselves at
sexual abuse of themselves by one or
more men other than PETER
PETER watching and laughing while they
sometimes being in a different room
from the other children while sexual things were being done to themselves
being at a house with a
(? belonging to one of Peter's friends)
reference to white clothes being worn
The first two of the above which are underlined are details
which I think it unlikely that parents would have led. The next is
something that would have been spontaneous, at least at the time Katrina made the
reference. The last item underlined was a minor comment made by Katrina during an
interview which at that stage of the inquiry is extremely unlikely to have
been led by a parent and probably not even known to her parents and
therefore not a subject of conversation between adults.
2. Named Children
Both children have mentioned other children being involved, but they do not
refer to the same children. Tommy refers to Katrina. Katrina
refers to ▓▓▓▓▓ (seeing "Q" and
"P" suck PETER's penis at Creche), but I do not know whether this
is Tommy. This
needs to be determined, perhaps from Katrina's mother.
Katrina refers to: ▓▓▓▓▓
▓▓▓▓▓ (touching her vagina)
I would suggest that all children mentioned by either Katrina or Tommy
have their videos/transcripts reviewed.
3. Named Adults
Both children named adults but the only consistency is their naming of
Peter ELLIS. Other adults were referred to as being present or
involved only outside the Creche.
Katrina named: JOSEPH (as abusing her)
Tommy named: PETER'S MOTHER
ROGER or ROBERT (a name possibly
infuenced by parental questioning)
MARIE } Creche
SPIKE ( 'not his real name' )
Other unnamed friends of Peter's, most male, some female.
The last three are (or were) Creche teachers. Tommy said at one
point that ROBERT used to be a Creche teacher, but since he did not
identify this abuser initially as being a Creche teacher and because of the
evidence in the mother's notes of conversations with Tommy, it is hard to
know whether there might be two 'Roberts'.
ANDREW was also said to have been a past Creche teacher
The following descriptions were given by Tommy:
ROBERT as being older with grey hair
and a beard but also, as being a young person with a few whiskers,
darkish/blacky-brown hair and a bit bald
PETER'S MOTHER as having grey bushy
hair with curls
4. Further Areas to Pursue
Tommy mentions a
'greyish white' car belonging to Peter's friend who was 'older, with grey
hair and a beard'. This person was
later named ROGER/ROBERT.
Both children refer to a `black' car. Katrina said it was Peter's. Tommy said there was
a `flash black car' which belonged to GAYE and used to be parked around the
corner from Creche. Tommy also refered to black Toyota Corona with a furry
grey interior, belonging to one of Peter's friends, SPIKE.
In her lest interview, in speaking of going to Sumner beach alone with PETER,
of going in a white car:
(ii) Peter's Mother
I think It would be useful to interview Peter's mother to determine her
contact with the Creche children.
Did she ever go on outings with the children, babysit them either
alone or with Peter, take them in a car?
Has she and/or Peter taken photos of the children either at the
Creche or elsewhere? Where does she
live and in what places has Peter lived over the relevant period? Has she had Creche children in her own
home? Is she aware of Peter taking
children on outings either alone or with other staff members? If so, where to? Does Peter have a living Grandmother and,
if so, has Peter ever taken children to her house? Does Peter have a camera? Has she seen him taking photos of any of the
What are the names of friends Peter has had over the last few years?
Does she meet Tommy's
description (grey clothes and bushy hair with curls)?
(iii) Tommy's Family
It would be useful to interview Tommy's parents to ascertain Tommy's sexual knowledge and experiences.
Prior to disclosures, what had they or his brothers taught him about sexual
matters? What is parent's attitude
towards sexual activity in front of their children? Has Tommy ever seen them have sexual
intercourse? Is there any chance he
might have seen them making love without their knowledge? To their knowledge would he have observed
any one in the family masturbate? to
I think each of the older sons should be interviewed separately and without
them being able to communicate between interviews. They were actually the first to elicit a
disclosure from Tommy,
but, more importantly one would want to ascertain whether there has ever
been any sexual activity between them and Tommy or whether he has observed either of
them masturbate to ejaculation. Have
they talked to him about (or shown him) anal intercourse?
When did the family live at ▓▓▓▓▓▓
iv) Tommy's Teacher
It would be useful to interview Tommy's current school teacher regarding his academic
ability, behaviour, social adjustment.
Of particular relevance would be to know her views of his
creativity, imagination, story-telling/writing ability and whether he tells
significant lies or makes up stories about people. Her views of his parents and any
pressures she thinks the child might be under may also be helpful.
v) Katrina's Mother
What does Katrina
Although I do not know what the Police may have on file from interviews
with Creche staff, there appear to be some areas that warrant
clarification. Since Tommy has referred to
MARY as being present when he has come back from abusive outings with Peter
and since he has stated that she was not involved whereas he claims other
female teachers were, she would be a good person to interview (?again).
her favourite teachers were MARIE and DEBBIE, but MARIE has been implicated
Areas of interest continue to centre round staff involvement with children
outside the Creche during Creche hours, going in cars (whose?, where to?),
the children's reactions/behaviours/demeanours when they have been out with
Peter alone. Katrina claims that she told MARIE what
Peter was doing to her and that MARIE did not believe her. Peter was there
and said he did not do it - does she recall this? What children did
Peter habitually care for and take on outings?
Also, enquiry as to the games the staff play with children at Creche. Do
they play circle games eg Ring-a-rosie?
Do they draw circles on the floor and get the children to stand
inside them? Do they play guitars
and sing while children dance in circles?
Do they play any games that require children to stand still in the
centre of a circle with the adults on the outside? Do they have the children take their
clothes off in hot weather? (inside?)
Do they have them play such games without clothes on?
Do they take photos of children at Creche?
Has Peter ever taken photos of them with still or video
cameras. Does he have a camera of
Was there a staff member called Robert (or Roger) at some time? And was
there an Andrew?
Both children have identified being at 'Peter's house", which does
not, of course, mean that it is necessarily a house that Peter has lived
in. It also seems they may have been
taken to a number of different houses.
distinguishes a 'building' from the house he called 'Peter's house' -
a building with a `library in it'. He does not identify this as the
Library but this is not impossible.
I think the children have had trips to the Canterbury Public Library
with Creche staff. He said the
'library building' was grey and had a 'trapdoor' in it. He speaks of 'a
trap that goes down' that they were made to stand on and tunnels with books
like a maze. There is some confusion
as to whether the building where sexual things took place is the same one
the books were in.
The identification of the Masonic Lodge does not spring from any
spontaneous disclosure from Tommy but from his parents taking him to the building and
asking if he had been there before.
However, does the Masonic Lodge have a library in the basement? If one has access to the basement, does
this allow access by internal stairs to rooms on the levels above? Tommy apparently said when asked by his mother
if he had been upstairs, "Joy", I've
been through the whole building'. His interviews refer to two-or-more
storeyed buildings and activities taking place on different levels.
I trust these comments will be helpful. I certainly hope it
does not sound as though I am trying to teach you to suck eggs! It is an extremely difficult inquiry
with such young children and it is most important that their statements are
neither dismissed as fanciful nor accorded unwarranted weight primarily
because of parental anxieties.
I would value the opportunity to discuss these and related matters with
Dr Karen Zelas