Ben Butler: Man accused of murdering daughter had conviction quashed for assaulting her as a baby

Butler and his partner Jennie Gray launched a High Court bid to get Ellie back after his conviction was quashed in 2010

Ben Butler denies murdering his six-year-old daughter
Ben Butler denies murdering his six-year-old daughter

A father killed his six-year-old daughter after he had an earlier conviction for assaulting her as a baby quashed, a court has heard.

Ben Butler had been found guilty of causing serious head injuries to his daughter Ellie when she was a baby in 2007 but had his sentence overturned in 2010.

He and his partner Jennie Gray then launched a High Court bid to get Ellie back from foster care.

Ellie Butler suffered head injuries normally found in road crash victims

She was returned to the “toxic” family home in Westover Close in south London and within a year she was dead.

Butler is on trial accused of causing her “catastrophic head injuries” while Gray was at work in the City of London in October 2013.

Gray left her offices and rushed home immediately after Butler called her on the day of Ellie’s death.

The pair then acted out an “elaborate” charade to get away with Ellie’s murder, the Old Bailey heard on Tuesday.

The couple then attempted to hide evidence and only called an ambulance two hours after Ellie had been fatally hurt.

Clothes were put in the wash and Butler dumped Gray's torn-up diary in a communal bin, the court heard.

The couple "staged" the scene to fit the story that Ellie was found in the bedroom by the other child in the house as they called her down for a slice of cake.

A court sketch of Jennie Gray and Ben Butler in the dock for covering up their daughter Ellie's murder

At 2.46pm, the couple made what appeared to be a "heart-rending" 999 call screaming and shouting for help.

Paramedics arrived to find Ellie in her bedroom, lying on her back on the floor next to an overturned child's pink stool by her wardrobe where the parents said they found her.

Prosecutor Edward Brown QC told jurors: "This was a planned, carefully coordinated and elaborate cover-up, designed wholly to mislead and divert attention in particular away from Ben Butler."

Mr Brown said Ellie died after suffering “very significant fractures to her skull” as a result of “significant force”.

Ellie had fingertip bruises under the jaw and the evidence suggested she was thrown against a wall or hit with a heavy object, jurors were told.

Medical experts said that her head injuries would normally be found in a high speed road crash.

Mr Brown told the court Butler was frustrated and resentful about his “house husband” status and having to take care of Ellie. He said he had expressed hatred for his daughter.

He said the police investigation had also unravelled the complex, controlling relationship between Ellie’s parents through hundreds of text messages.

Jennie Gray and Ben Butler on This Morning in 2012 while they were campaigning to get their daughter back

While Butler called his partner a "dog whore" and an "ugly bitch", she professed her love and said she would do anything for him, the court heard.

Butler is on trial for murder and both he and Gray have also been charged with child cruelty relating to an untreated broken shoulder Ellie suffered weeks before her death. They deny the charges.

Grey initially denied perverting the course of justice to save Butler but admitted lying in May 2015.

The trial continues.

Additional reporting by PA

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