Serenity's killer tricked into telling truth
Police mounted an undercover sting in an attempt to trick a confession from the man they believed had murdered 6-month-old Serenity Joy Scott.
Matthew Ellery, 22, initially denied he had anything to do with the Ngaruawahia tot's death but was forced to plead guilty after confessing his crime to an undercover officer.
It's only the second time in New Zealand police history that investigators have used such a ploy to gain an admission of guilt.
Ellery will today be sentenced in the High Court at Hamilton in a case which shocked the nation and sparked a campaign to raise awareness of child abuse.
Serenity was found unresponsive with critical injuries at the Havelock Rd, Ngaruawahia home where she lived with her mother Chelsea Scott, Miss Scott's partner, Ellery and another man, in April 2011.
She died just two days later from critical injuries at Starship Hospital in Auckland.
Ellery's lawyer and New Zealand Law Society Waikato branch president Bruce Hesketh told the Waikato Times police first and last went undercover when trying to solve the 1993 cold case murder of Balwinder "Babu" Singh.
Paul Joseph Cameron was finally convicted at trial in 2007. He appealed, but that was declined by the Supreme Court in 2009.
Mr Hesketh said it took so long for Ellery to confirm the plea because it took about 18 months to receive full disclosure from the prosecution.
But then he discovered the length of Ellery's confession.
"It was almost as if he was quite happy to talk about it to get it off his chest ... talking about 'how' and 'why'," Mr Hesketh said.
Mr Hesketh said Ellery had felt like he had been "stitched up" initially, and wanted to challenge it, but then realised he didn't have a chance and has come to accept he will serve a jail sentence for murder.
Mr Hesketh said Ellery's parents "are devastated but they're supportive of him".
"They are pleased that he has pleaded guilty and is taking responsibility for his actions, but they accept those actions were impulsive and not pre-meditated."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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