A man pleaded guilty in the High Court at Auckland yesterday
to the murder of six-month-old Serenity Jay Scott-Dinnington.
Mathew Shane Ellery pleaded guilty to her murder following
her death in 2011.
Serenity was injured in her Ngaruawahia home on the April 26,
2011 and she died of a traumatic head injury two days later
in Auckland's Starship Hospital.
Police have thanked the Ngaruawahia community for their
support and encouragement during the investigation.
Ngaruawahia residents turned their outrage at the crime into
practical support and help for the investigative team,
playing a significant part in the successful resolution of
Serenity, who had just learned to crawl, was found lying in
her room with eyes half-opened at the Havelock Rd home she
shared with her mother, uncle Drew Scott and Ellery.
She had severe brain injuries, a broken rib cage and genital
Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Greene said the investigation
itself was lengthy and challenging for police and experts who
Ellery's guilty plea was a tribute to their dedication and
resolve and that ultimately some justice had been achieved
for baby Serenity, he said.
The case reinforced that the most important role for all
parents and carers of children was to love, care for and
protect their children, Mr Greene said.
On January 6, Ms Scott gave birth to a child fathered by
Ellery. Child, Youth and Family took the baby less than 48
Ms Scott's 6-year-old son, Travis, has been in CYF care since
the incident last year.
Ellery appeared with Ms Scott on Campbell Live last year to
protest his innocence and to rebut claims that he had anger
He said in the interview that he had tried to do CPR on
Serenity. "It was too hard and it wasn't working. Chelsea was
a mess and I was shaking.''
Ms Scott was asked if she believed that Ellery was not
responsible for Serenity's death. She said: "Yes, I believe
him. People haven't seen the way Matthew is with kids.''
Ms Scott said she knew who the baby's killer was and pointed
the finger elsewhere.
On Facebook earlier, she had said the killer was walking
around "as if nothing had happened'' and she wanted to see
"I know for a fact who killed her.''
Serenity's death also prompted the establishment of Nark
(Nation of Advocates for the Rights of Kids) - which was
later mired by allegations of mishandled finances.