Ellie's father caught on video swearing in his daughter's presence, court told


A father accused of battering his six-year-old daughter to death was caught on home video having a swearing rant in the presence of his daughter, a court heard.

Ben Butler can been heard in the background telling someone to "f*** off" as little Ellie stands in pink and grey pyjamas in front of the camera.

The girl appeared pale, with a dark mark around one eye and a thick bandage on her leg, during three short clips played to jurors.

Jobless Butler, 36, is on trial at the Old Bailey charged with her murder, while he and Jennie Gray are accused of child cruelty relating to an untreated broken shoulder Ellie suffered weeks before her death.

The court heard how a Samsung camera was found by police in a chest of drawers at the Butler home in Sutton, south-west London, after her death in October 2013.

In the first two clips Ellie is shown with her eyes closed, with her long brown hair around her shoulders.

In the third clip she is standing in front of the camera with her leg in a thick bandage.

In the background Butler is heard shouting and swearing at someone on the phone. He is heard to say: "Don't ask me to do something you ain't f****** done then sort it and now f*** off."

Ellie appears not to react to her father's off camera rant.


Earlier, jurors heard transcripts of Ellie's mother being interviewed by police.

Gray, 36, described Butler as a "very nice, kind loving man" who was devoted to his daughter.

She said: "Me and him, we just have a very, very strong relationship. I have always been very happy."

While they thought differently in many ways, she said: "At the end of the day, we have known each other for eight years and we always agree on things."

She went on: "He is actually completely different from what people imagine. He's not all those things people say. Around me he's been great. He has been a rock for me. A very nice, kind, loving man."

She said that Ellie "means the world to him", which is why he went to the High Court to get her back in 2012 after his conviction for assaulting her as a baby was quashed.

She said they had decided to get counselling because of all the "bad memories" of that time.

The prosecution has said Gray's account to police was a lie, and she has since admitted to perverting the course of justice in the wake of Ellie's death.

Butler and Gray deny the other charges they face.