A man who inflicted injuries on his daughter similar to those of a high-speed crash has been convicted of her murder.
Metropolitan Police Service reported:
'Ben Butler, 36, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of the murder of Ellie Butler. He was also convicted of one count of child cruelty.
Ellie’s mother, Jennie Gray, 36 was also found guilty of child cruelty and had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing.
Ellie died as a result of significant fractures to her skull that stretched almost the entire length of her head.
A post-mortem examination also established that Ellie had suffered a broken shoulder in the weeks prior to her death, but no medical treatment had been sought. She also had bruises consistent with being gripped around her jaw and underlying eye and brain injuries.
On the day of the murder, Gray, a graphic designer, was at work in the City of London when Butler caused the catastrophic injuries to Ellie at their family home.
Shortly after 12pm, following a call from Butler, she immediately left her office and rushed home in a taxi. At the address the pair proceeded to cover up Ellie’s murder by staging a scene to make it look like Ellie had fallen off a small chair.
Butler dumped clothing, letters and diary entries in communal bins away from their house. Gray changed and washed the shirt she had been wearing when she got home.
At 2:46pm, some two hours after Gray left her office, the couple made a dramatic 999 call, claiming they had found Ellie unconscious on the floor of her bedroom. They performed CPR as directed by the emergency services call handler. Paramedics arrived and Ellie was taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, where she was pronounced dead shortly after 4pm.
Detective Inspector Dave Reid, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: 'There is no doubt that Ben Butler is a man with a ferocious temper and a short fuse. This was clear from the evidence we gathered during our investigation that showed how his volatile personality dominated family life.'
'He regularly teetered on the verge of a violent outburst and displayed extreme contempt for his partner Jennie Gray, who despite this put him before everything and anyone - even six-year-old Ellie.'
'Butler’s actions following Ellie’s death were those of a man only acting to save himself. Having caused Ellie’s injuries in a violent rage and whilst she lay dead or dying, he didn’t call for an ambulance but instead called Gray, whom he knew would rush home and do whatever it took in order to protect him.
'Butler and Gray then set about orchestrating a set of lies to blame everyone but themselves for Ellie’s murder and the events leading up to it. They lied throughout the investigation and continued making outlandish accusations against a variety of people and organisations throughout their trial at the Old Bailey.'
'However, investigating Ellie’s murder and tragic story meant detectives gathered a huge amount of harrowing evidence that proved Butler did indeed kill Ellie and Gray helped him cover it up. Whilst their convictions today will bring little comfort to Ellie’s beloved grandparents with whom she lived for the majority of her short life or to all those who loved her, I hope they will go some little way to assuring them justice has now been achieved.'