Ben Butler convicted of murdering his daughter

22/06/2016

Ben Butler, aged 36, was convicted today at the Central Criminal Court for the murder of his six-year-old daughter Ellie on 28 October 2013.

Malcolm McHaffie, CPS London Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: "Six-year-old Ellie Butler was murdered in her home, where she should have felt safe, by her violent father who should have loved and protected her.

"The CPS presented evidence of Ben Butler's contempt for his daughter and his aggressive nature and volatile temper through text messages and diary entries.

"We may never know exactly what happened in the last few hours of Ellie's life but the CPS built a strong case to show that her death was the result of deliberate violence by Butler.

"Butler and his partner and Ellie's mother, Jennie Gray, did all they could to try to divert the police investigation away from any suspicion of Butler. However, the Crown's expert medical evidence showed that Ellie's catastrophic head injuries could not have been the result of an accident, but must have been deliberately inflicted.

"This was a complex and challenging case which involved a thorough police investigation and was clearly and carefully presented to the court by the CPS. Their hard work and dedication has helped secure justice for Ellie."

Background information

Ben Butler was convicted together with his partner and Ellie's mother, Jennie Gray, of child cruelty for failing to seek medical attention for a fractured shoulder which Ellie had suffered some weeks before her death. Gray had previously pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice for helping Butler to try to mislead police after the crime.

Ellie was found dead in her bedroom on 28 October 2013. Her parents, Butler and Gray, called the emergency services and claimed that they had just found Ellie lying unresponsive in her room. The clear and intended implication of what they each said then and later, and of the scene that was presented to the paramedics and to the police later, was that Ellie had been the victim of a tragic accident at some point, discovered by them moments before they rang 999. However, evidence showed that Ellie has suffered catastrophic injures at least two hours before the call to the emergency services. Gray rushed home from work following a call from Butler, arriving home an hour before the emergency call was made. In this time Butler and Gray both tried to dispose of or conceal any evidence that would implicate Butler in Ellie's death.