A FORMER ambulance worker – given a bravery award by the Queen – has been jailed for child sex offences.
Kenneth Ellis was hailed a Wearside hero after saving the life of a man about to jump off the Wearmouth Bridge.
His brave actions saw him praised by the ambulance service and receive a Royal Humane Society Award from the Queen.
But while playing the hero in public, Ellis was in private a very different character.
By the time he received his award from Her Majesty in 1986, the then 41-year-old had already carried out a series of vile attacks that resulted in his victim trying to kill herself.
He went on to carry out further offences against a second victim in the 1990s.
At Newcastle Crown Court this week, the 66-year-old Pennywell pervert was jailed for eight years after admitting 15 charges, including sexual assaults, indecent assaults and indecency with a child.
Ellis retired from his job with Northumbria Ambulance Service a year after the rescue in August 1986, claiming the stress of the job had left him in ill health.
More than 20 years later, he was arrested after two victims claimed he had sexually abused them.
This week at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge David Wood told him: “Both of the complainants have made statements, which we have heard, indicating the terrible effect this has had upon their lives.
“Their lives have been blighted by what has happened to them and I don’t suppose they will recover from what happened.
“You gave excellent service in the ambulance service.
“These offences are so serious only custody can be justified for them.”
Prosecutor Michael Graham read impact statements from both victims, who are now grown women.
Mr Graham said: “One has said the defendant has completely ruined her life. She said coming forward to the police was one of the hardest things she has ever had to do.
“She said she has finally had to accept she is the victim, not the guilty one. She has attempted suicide on three occasions.”
Jamie Adams, defending, showed the judge a newspaper article from 1988 and said: “It makes reference to an award given to him by the Queen through the Royal Humane Society for an act of bravery.
“When called to the scene of a man about to throw himself off the Wearmouth Bridge, Mr Ellis climbed up to where the man was, putting himself in some considerable risk, and persuaded the man to come down.”
Mr Adams said Ellis, who is in poor health, pleading guilty spared the victims having to re-live their ordeals in court.
Ellis must abide by the terms of a sexual offences prevention order and sign the sex offenders register indefinitely.
Mr Adams added: “He has got to live with this for the rest of his life.”