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  1. #1
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    UK - Ellie Butler, 6, brutally murdered, Sutton, 28 Oct 2013 #1

    I searched and did not see a thread.

    I know that some of the cases on here absolutely beggar belief, but this case has made me so angry.

    This 'father' was convicted of inflicting serious head injuries on his daughter when she was a baby. He appealed and his conviction was quashed three years later.

    Then he and the girl's mother instituted court proceedings to regain custody of Ellie even though she had been placed in long term foster care.

    They won.

    11 months later he is in court for murdering her. After she was injured, rather than calling for help, he and the 'mother' spent 2 hours trying to set up an alibi and make it look like an accident.

    One final insult - she had suffered a broken shoulder several weeks before she died and neither parent sought medical attention for this injury.


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-36082621

    Ellie had a home and she was safe away from her vile father - but the overweening arrogance of the man meant that he would not accept it. I think he saw her as property and regaining custody as a matter of pride and a way of 'saving face'. Disgusting.

  2. #2
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    What an awful case.

    More details here: http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/u...e-court-hears/

  3. #3
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    This is an intensely disturbing case. Here is a newspaper article covering the original proceedings, reproduced on a blog:

    http://shakenbabyandsuddeninfantdeat...-children.html

    " FIVE years ago doting dad Ben Butler saved his baby daughter’s life when she stopped breathing – and soon found himself in JAIL.
    After clearing tiny Ellie’s airway, Ben rushed her to hospital, where doctors found head injuries similar to those caused when a baby is shaken.
    To his horror, he was accused of grievous bodily harm and cruelty — crimes for which he was eventually convicted and sent to prison.
    He had to stay on a wing full of PAEDOPHILES — and share his cell with a convicted child abuser.

    Meanwhile, beautiful Ellie and her sister...were put in foster care. And it was all a terrible mistake. Ben’s conviction was quashed in 2010 after new medical evidence showed six-week-old Ellie’s injuries were caused by a traumatic birth. An appeal judge described the case as a “gross miscarriage of justice”. But Ben, 33, and girlfriend Jennie Gray, 32, had to battle for two more years in the Family Court to get their girls back home. They finally won that ruling just last week."

    ...

    “Ellie has been away from us for over five years. And [her sister] came home last week and for the first few days was confused and upset.
    “It tore me apart to see her sitting there crying for her foster parents.

    ...

    The nightmare began in February 2007 when Ben, who was then separated from Jennie, took charge of baby Ellie for a night.
    Graphic designer Jennie had no qualms about leaving the newborn.
    She recalled: “If anything, he was an over-protective dad.
    “He would text me things like, ‘I think I’ve given her too much milk!’”
    Ben said: “From the moment I saw her I fell in love. I just adored her and wanted to be a hands-on dad. I saw her as much as I could, even having her overnight if I could.”

    ...

    Furious Jennie, who had noticed the baby sometimes had breathing problems but was told by the doctor and the midwife not to worry, said: “Ellie had no other injuries, no bruises, no fractures, nothing.
    “That is almost unheard of in shaken babies.”
    Ben added: “Two weeks later I was arrested and charged with GBH with intent.
    “Jen wouldn’t go against me, so Ellie was taken into care.
    “At one stage Jen was told by social workers, ‘If you say Mr Butler is guilty, you have more chance of getting your baby back.’”
    Jennie added: “I know some people say I should have done that so I could have my child — but I couldn’t do that to Ben. It wasn’t right.
    “I had to pack up all her little things and then hand them over to the foster carer.
    “When I left her home I just collapsed screaming on her doorstep.
    “I missed all her milestones — her first smile, her first steps.”
    While awaiting trial the Family Court ruled Ben could see Ellie twice a year for four hours.
    Jennie was allowed contact with her baby six times a year for two hours at a time — but felt she could not keep protesting.
    Weeping, the mum said: “I had to do everything social services said because I was so scared of Ellie being adopted and then I would have lost her forever.”
    Finally in March 2009 Ben faced trial at Croydon Crown Court.
    He said: “It all revolved around medical evidence. But unless you were a qualified medic I can’t see how you’d understand any of it.”
    To his horror he was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.
    Ben said: “I had to serve my time on the nonces’ wing.
    “It was hideous, being in with men that had done unspeakable things to children.
    “I never spoke a word to any of them the whole time.
    “I couldn’t even have a photo of Ellie in there in case any paedos got off on it.”
    Finally after three-and-a-half months he was freed, pending appeal. He could not wait to see his little girl again. She was now growing up with Jennie’s parents.
    He said: “I was allowed to go and see Ellie but she didn’t even know who I was — it was heartbreaking.”
    Brought back together by their battles, he and Jennie started seeing each other again and she became pregnant.
    She revealed: “I was terrified that social services would take my baby away.
    “So I registered under a false name 60 miles away from where I was living.
    “I kept the pregnancy a secret from everyone.
    “I had [the baby], but when [she] was six months old someone tipped off social services.
    “I was driving down the motorway and six police cars started chasing me.
    “They pulled me over and arrested me on suspicion of child neglect.
    “They wouldn’t even let me say goodbye

    ...

    He said: “I had spent years researching shaken baby syndrome on the internet.
    “There wasn’t a case like ours ever. In all cases of shaken baby syndrome the baby had either died, or been brain damaged.
    “Ellie was perfect. I also had medical experts who testified about her cyst and how I had probably saved her life.”
    The family was finally reunited by High Court judge Mrs Justice Hogg, who ruled that the local authority — which had argued [the sister], now three, was still at risk — must hand the youngster back.
    The judge concluded: “It is a joy for me to oversee the return of a child to her parents.”
    But while [the sister] is back, Ellie, now five, is so attached to her grandparents that Ben and Jennie fear bringing her back home full-time immediately.
    Furious Ben said: “My life, Jennie’s life and the girls’ lives have been virtually destroyed.
    “Whatever chance we had of being a family was taken away — I have never seen [the sister] at Christmas, or on her birthday.”
    Jennie admitted: “At times I felt I couldn’t go on. I just wanted to die but Ben kept me alive. He said we had to fight, fight, fight.
    “But we really don’t know how the future will go — I fear Ellie has been away from us too long.”
    They must have done the media rounds at the time because the Telegraph has a picture of them on what appears to be a TV studio couch:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...of-girl-6.html



    Interesting reader comments under this article by the way:

    http://www.suttonguardian.co.uk/news...urt_of_Appeal/

    Meanwhile the Irish Mirror is reporting evidence from the current trial giving an insight into what was going on under the surface in their relationship:

    http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/dads-...-toxic-7788206


    A mum and dad exchanged a barrage of abusive texts in the months before their six-year-old daughter was allegedly murdered, a court has heard.

    Ben Butler, 36, was a frustrated and angry house husband who expressed hatred for his daughter Ellie as well as contempt for his partner Jennie Gray in the "unrelenting" stream of messages from July 2013, a jury was told.

    In response, Gray, also 36, did all she could to obey and please Butler, putting his needs above everyone else in the family, the court heard.

    ...

    The Old Bailey heard how on July 16, Butler described his partner as a "dog whore" and told her to "f*** off u ugly *****".

    In a scrap of Gray's diary from that day, recovered from bins, Gray wrote that they "rowed bad", the court heard.

    Two days later, Gray texted: "I love U and want U.... I never want to lose you," only for Butler to call her "a joke".

    On July 19, Butler appeared to boil over saying: "Woke up I'm in a rage already... My hands are shaking... One more mistake I'm going to lose it..."

    Then on the evening of July 27 internet searches were made for "six year old urinating to be bad" and "six year old heard a voice in her head", the court heard.

    A handwritten note entitled "Ellie's Behaviour" was found at the family home with a list of ten points including "Lying - constantly lies and even for no reason", "constantly manipulative", and "feel you can't trust her".

    In August 2, Gray told her partner: "Just so U know - I am obsessed and in awe of U! Think U R so hit (sic) and want U to fancy me the same X...I would die for you."

    But in a row over childcare on August 5, Butler tells her to "f*** off" and called her "mother scum", the court heard.

    On August 8, Gray searched the internet for "magic spells to make him love me again" and "urgent spell to make him be sorry for hurting me".

    She also allegedly searched the web for "I am with a bully who beats me and tells me I am ugly and fat and hurts me all the time".

    Ellie missed days of school around the time she suffered from a broken shoulder in early October.

    But neither parent took her to see her GP, and Gray extracted a sick note on her word that Ellie had a respiratory tract infection, Mr Brown said.

    ...

    When Butler discovered Gray's diaries on October 17, he told her she was "insane" and what she wrote was "disgusting".

    Gray told him that she loved him and "would die" for him, to which he replied: "Just die...snake *****", the court heard.

    Mr Brown told jurors that handwritten letters were found following Ellie's death and in one Gray prayed for Butler to love her and "stop violence".

    A video clip was recovered from the house in which Butler could be heard ranting and swearing on the phone in front of Ellie.

    Jobless Ben Butler was 'constantly teetering on the edge of a violent loss of temper' and his 'short fuse' dominated their 'toxic' family life, jurors were told.

    He was the only adult at their home in Sutton, south London, when he allegedly flew into a rage and caused 'catastrophic head injuries' to Ellie on 28 October 2013.
    They then are alleged to have engaged in a remarkably elaborate scheme to make it look like an accident:

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2...iction-quashed

    Following Ellie’s death, the court was told the defendants “screamed for help” when they called 999 at 2.46pm. Gray performed CPR and Butler said his daughter had “fallen”. Brown said that on the face of it, it was a “heart-rending call”.

    The recorded call in which Gray screamed and shouted was played to the court. She told the operator: “My daughter is not breathing. Her colour. She’s not moving. We need you to get an ambulance.” Gray broke down in tears in the dock as the call was played.

    Paramedics arrived to find Ellie in her bedroom, lying on her back on the floor next to an overturned stool by her wardrobe where the parents said they found her. Brown said the “clear and intended implication” of what they each said was that Ellie had been the victim of a “tragic accident”, discovered moments before they rang 999.

    However, the prosecutor said: “The terrible truth is that the scene was staged by the defendants. What they said in those apparently frantic moments and which they continued to claim was also staged. This was a planned, carefully co-ordinated and elaborate cover-up, designed wholly to mislead and divert attention in particular away from Ben Butler.”
    Advertisement

    In the two hours after the killing, Butler projected an act of normality. He took his dog for a “nonchalant” walk and commented on the weather to a neighbour. Meanwhile, he tried to get rid of evidence that would show him as “violent, abusive and with a short fuse”, the court heard. Clothes were put in the wash and Butler dumped Gray’s torn-up diary in a communal bin.

    “The dreadful reality is that both defendants put themselves before the wellbeing or dignity of that little girl with Jennie Gray seeking to protect the man, who you will hear had significant control over her, emotionally and often physically,” said Brown “In respect of Butler, this is a story of a cynical and considered deception directed by a man acting to save himself.

    When he was arrested, Butler made no comment while Gray stuck to her false account that they had found Ellie on the bedroom floor, having been alerted by another child in the house at the time, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
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    With hindsight, this is a horrible read, from 2012:


    On Friday, Mrs Justice Hogg sanctioned the return of Ellie and her sister to their parents' care.

    She said Mr Butler, 32, and Ellie's mother, Jennie Gray, had shown "tenacity and courage".

    "It is seldom that I see a 'happy end' in public law proceedings. It is a joy for me to oversee the return of a child to her parents," the judge said.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19935690

  5. #5
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    "Doting dad", indeed - ugh.

  6. #6
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    Ooh I knew Ellie was released back into care of parents. I wasn't aware there was a sister too? What's happened with the sister since/before/after?
    Anyone know?
    I feel so sorry for Ellie losing her life... cut so short. And yet the parents went thru all the paper work red tape and an amount of time. In order to win back Ellie.
    And in such short time after. Her 'doting father' extinguishes her life out like a candle...

    #2016AnnisHorribilus

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  7. #7
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    More distressing details from the trial today:

    Her father Ben Butler claims she fell, but the prosecution said her injuries were caused by being thrown against a wall or hit with a "blunt weapon".

    Prosecutor Ed Brown QC said a post-mortem examination revealed the child suffered skull fractures from at least two severe impacts.

    He said the doctor who carried out the examination and a neurological pathologist agreed her injuries were unlikely to have been caused by an accidental fall.

    A third expert, a forensic pathologist, believed Ellie's major head injury was "the result of one or more very forceful blunt impacts, arising through being thrown against a wall or the ground, or struck with a heavy blunt weapon", the court heard.

    On the day of Ellie's death, on 28 October 2013, Mr Butler and Ms Gray exchanged a series of phone calls and texts, records show.
    Assault conviction quashed

    He tried to call her at her office at 12:46 but reached a voicemail message and sent a text asking her to "answer".

    Her colleague Tracey Bernstein said in a statement that the way Ms Gray got up and left the office was "just not right".

    Another former workmate, Victoria Harris, said she had seen Ms Gray looking "agitated" on the phone. "It did appear to me it was more than just a secret conversation," she added.

    Minutes later Ms Gray was caught on CCTV dashing out of her office, near the Old Bailey.

    She sent a text to her manager to say she had left for home as she was "feeling unwell".

    But taxi driver Derek Greenwood, who drove her back to Sutton, overheard her on her mobile phone saying loudly "you have done what?", "you have gone where?" and "you're joking".

    The court also heard from their neighbour, Lucy Jackson who recalled hearing arguments and a raised male voice coming from their home.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-36092752

  8. #8
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    Following this also. Such a sad story. Borne from a woman who just wanted him to love her. And to have that 'perfect' family..

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  9. #9
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    'Father left daughter with injuries like a high-speed car crash' http://dailym.ai/1SsX21K via http://dailym.ai/android

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    Carpe Diem. ..... And so, the Lion fell in love with the Lamb....


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigi-G View Post
    'Father left daughter with injuries like a high-speed car crash' http://dailym.ai/1SsX21K via http://dailym.ai/android

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    Another version of same story.
    Either way. I do hope he pays for what he did. The mom did wrong to. But you have to be in her shoes to know where yr head is in circumstances like these.
    I've been there. Altho not in such a degree. No crime was committed. But if I hadn't of got out when I did.....who knows.

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  11. #11
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    The Mirror has live updates from the trial Today:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news...ap-dad-7793323

    Confirmed they were on ITV "This Morning"

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-a6992131.html

    The "This Morning" studio in 2012:


  12. #12
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    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news...ap-dad-7793323

    The jury are hearing about the post-mortem that took place on Ellie Butler and an overview of the medical evidence they will hear from several experts.
    Mr Brown told the jury they would hear from Consultant Forensic Pathologist Dr Nathaniel Cary, who found Ellie’s injuries were like those sustained in a car crash, not a short fall.
    The prosecutor said: “In Dr Cary’s opinion, such an injury would normally be associated with high-speed road traffic collisions or a fall from a substantial height of more than one storey.
    “The nature and extent of the head injury is wholly incompatible with having occurred accidentally in a domestic environment. Dr Cary has never in his experience encountered an accidental head injury of this severity in a domestic environment.
    “In Dr Cary’s opinion, this major head injury was the result of one or more very forceful blunt impacts arising, for instance, through being thrown against a wall or the ground, or struck with a heavy blunt weapon.
    “The areas of bruising and the abrasion over Ellie’s body are consistent with grappling and gripping, including over the jawline and the limbs.”
    Derek Greenwood, the taxi driver who picked Gray up in central London and drove her back to Sutton, took the witness stand just before the court broke for lunch.
    He said she seemed “quite keen and desperate to get a cab”.
    Mr Greenwood said: “She said ‘Can you take me? My child is really ill.’
    “She was quite anxious. I said yes to the fare.”
    He remembered her talking on her phone during the journey, he told the jury, and hearing the words ‘You’re joking’ and ‘You’ve done what?’ or ‘You’ve gone where?’
    He said: “I remember hearing ‘you’ve gone where?’ because I was waiting to be told to change the destination.”
    Gray, Mr Greenwood said, was “slightly agitated” during the journey and paid cash for the 50 fare.
    “She paid me and was gone,” he said.
    The next evening, while watching local TV news and a report about Ellie’s death, he realised his fare might have been a significant one, Mr Greenwood said.
    He will be cross-examined after lunch.
    Former neighbour Lucy Jackson, who used to live above Butler and Gray and argued with them about noise levels, said she often heard shouting coming from the couple’s flat.
    The voice she remembers hearing loudest was always male, she said.
    Miss Jackson said she arrived home at around 2pm on October 28 and heard the sound of a child crying.
    Her ex-partner, Daniel Holland, gave the court a statement saying he was also at Miss Jackson’s address on October 28 and heard a child crying and Butler shouting.
    Ambulances were on the estate soon after and later he saw Ellie being carried out on a stretcher by paramedics, the jury heard.
    Another resident of the estate, Tracey Stanton, said she watched from her kitchen window as Butler walked his dog on October 28 at, she said, around 3pm.
    She said: “He saw us smiling and just waved and smiled back.”
    She only knew the couple in passing, the witness said, but would hear them arguing and Butler, she said, could be heard from her flat nearby, swearing loudly.
    He was “aggressive” in his tone, Ms Stanton said, while she always found Gray “really quiet”.
    Samantha Stanton, another neighbour, said she saw Butler walking to the communal bins on the estate with a number of items in five plastic supermarket bags the same afternoon.
    The prosecution claim Butler was getting rid of evidence.

  13. #13
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    I just can't get my whole head around his psychosis.... and I've still not found anymore of a second child.. and yet in Mondays DM. I'm sure it mentions another child grrr.
    I wonder how it was he managed or should I say THEY managed to change Ellie's custodian from care to back at home. Will someone's head roll at this?

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  14. #14
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    It's my understanding it took two years to get them back from care (I read two girls one younger and who they dragged into it by saying she "found" her sister's body).

    Two years is a long time, particularly in bureaucratic time. Like, they had to have met some expectations put upon them over those years right? Certainly, I hope...
    Unless specified otherwise and linked, my posts are simply random thoughts of mine, in no particular order, not directed at any post or poster, including but not limited to the ones directly above mine. My opinion only, yours may vary. IMO. JMO. IMHO. JMHO. MOO. Disclaimer, small print, asterisk, and etc.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by flourish View Post
    It's my understanding it took two years to get them back from care (I read two girls one younger and who they dragged into it by saying she "found" her sister's body).

    Two years is a long time, particularly in bureaucratic time. Like, they had to have met some expectations put upon them over those years right? Certainly, I hope...
    Thank you for confirming Flourish. I can't seem to load up my history from Monday. Where I read about a second child.
    There's very little reported on the second child. Did she also enter care along with Ellie. Do you know. Also if he is the 'house husband' surely he'd be looking after the 2... sorry trying to make sense of the second child and where she fits in to this if at all.

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