A TOTAL of 70 indecent images of children aged as young as seven were recovered from computer equipment seized from the home of a West Yorkshire police officer who was found dead the day after his arrest, an inquest jury heard.
Detective Constable Pam Gillings told Wakefield Coroner’s Court the images and videos of children aged between seven and 13 were recovered from equipment seized from the Castleford home of West Yorkshire Police Constable Kevin Ellis.
Det Cons Gillings said police classify images from level one to level five, with five being the most serious.
The inquest jury was told eight of the recovered images were level four, nine were level three, eight were level two and 45 were level one.
Divorced father-of-two PC Ellis, 33, was arrested at 1.20pm on April 17 2013 over an allegation involving indecent images of children.
He was released from custody on unconditional bail and was given a lift to his parent’s home in Lofthouse by a Police Federation representative.
But he got out of the car at 8.40pm saying he wanted to walk the rest of the way to clear his head.
PC Ellis had visited Premier Stores on Main Street, East Ardsley, where he bought two bottles of Lambrini and a notebook, which he used to write a note found after his death.
His body was found suspended from a tree in the grounds of his former school – Rodillian Academy at Lofthouse – just before 1pm on April 18.
Detective Constable Gillian Bates told the inquest PC Ellis appeared shocked when he was arrested and said: “I can’t believe that this has happened.”
PC Ellis’s retired police officer father Peter Ellis has told the jury that he and his wife had no idea that their son had even been arrested or bailed to stay at their house.
Peter Ellis has said that had he been informed of his son’s arrest, he would have picked up his son from the police station.
PC Ellis could not be bailed to his own address for fear he could be in contact with children, the inquest heard.
The inquest jury was told that, as a matter of procedure and safeguarding, a bail address in an issue of indecent images should have been checked in order to confirm there were no children in danger at the address.
Det Cons Bates told the inquest jury: “As far as I was concerned it (PC Ellis’s parents’ address) was an alternative address for the night until a social services referral was done. It wasn’t a bail address.”
Peter Ellis said to Det Cons Bates that alerting him and his wife to PC Ellis’ arrest “is the one thing that could have prevented our son’s death.”
Mr Ellis added: “Alerting us to his arrest would have allowed us the opportunity to give you vital information as to Kevin’s circumstances and would have allowed me to collect him on his release. That being the case, I would like you to explain to us how this oversight came about?”
Det Cons Bates said: “My focus should be to Kevin and contacting the address, doing the address check fell by the wayside. It was an oversight on my part.
“If I had done the address checks I would probably have found another way to do it rather than contacting you. I took Kevin at his word.”
Det Cons Bates added: “I trusted him there were no children in the house. I was told earlier that day that you were a retired police officer. I took Kevin at his word.”
Mr Ellis said: “Trusting people and taking short cuts is not really a professional approach was it?”
Det Cons Bates replied: “It wasn’t a short cut, it was an oversight.”
The inquest continues.