Ellie Butler murder trial hears harrowing 999 call


A harrowing 999 call has been played in the trial of a father accused of battering his six-year-old daughter to death in a fit of rage.

Ellie Butler was found by medics with catastrophic head injuries in her bedroom on the afternoon of October 28 2013.

Her parents Ben Butler and Jennie Gray, both 36, called 999 two hours after she was fatally hurt while home alone with her father and another child, the court has heard.

The prosecution has said a post-mortem examination ruled out an accidental fall and her death was put down to Butler either beating her over the head with a heavy object or throwing her against the floor or wall.

Butler, of Westover Close, Sutton, south-west London, denies Ellie's murder and along with Gray has pleaded not guilty to child cruelty over an earlier shoulder injury.

Graphic designer Gray has admitted perverting the course of justice by hiding or destroying evidence after rushing home from work to protect her partner.

The 15-minute call to emergency services was played to the Old Bailey jury.

During the call, Gray screams and shouts telling the operator: "It's my daughter, she's not breathing."

Butler comes on the phone and swears at the female operator as he confirms the address to send the ambulance, saying Ellie has "fallen down".

Gray is then instructed to give her daughter CPR with breaths followed by 30 chest compressions.

As the call was played, Gray broke down in tears in the dock. 

Much of the call was inaudible with screaming and shouting as the operator repeatedly tells the couple to "calm down".

First responder Sarah Hardy told the court that Ellie was "very cold and blue" when she arrived.

She found the little girl in her pyjamas, lying on the floor of her bedroom, as her mother carried out CPR.

The medic said Ellie had no heartbeat to shock.

She said: "I asked mum and dad what had happened. Father replied he had seen something like foam coming out of her mouth and does that mean she might be all right.

"I asked again what had happened to her and I believe her dad said 'I don't know. I thought she was in her bedroom sleeping'.

"I heard someone say her mum had come home from work and had called up to Ellie she had brought cupcakes home. Someone said the (other) child had gone up to get Ellie and then her dad had gone up and found her."

Of Gray's behaviour at the time, she said: "She was crying and saying something along the lines of 'Please come back so we can have cupcakes again together'."

More medics arrived and they continued to try to save Ellie but there was no change in her condition.

Ms Hardy told jurors she could not understand how Ellie could have died until she noticed a "boggy mass" on the back of her head.

She said: "Since I felt the boggy mass I realised the cause of death was a traumatic cardiac arrest.

"As soon as I discovered the boggy mass I put a call into St George's (hospital). I had concerns as to how this had happened and called police."

She also noticed a red liquid coming from her nose or mouth filling up the little girl's face mask. 

Cross-examining, Bernard Tetlow QC for Gray queried if Ms Hardy had really heard the mother talking about having cupcakes again with Ellie.

But the witness replied: "I remember her saying it because it made me choke a bit. I felt sorry for her."

Earlier, the court had heard evidence from two neighbours.

Just 15 minutes before the emergency call, Elaine Winson said she saw Butler outside the family home with his Jack Russell puppy.

He commented on the weather saying "Isn't it nasty", which she thought was odd.

Ms Winson told jurors: "The fact he made a comment to me I thought was strange because I had never spoken to him before."

Later, Ms Winson described seeing Butler's blank expression as Ellie was taken to an ambulance outside.

She said: "As they were bringing the little girl out on a trolley paramedics were working on her giving CPR.

"The mother was severely distressed and holding on to the trolley.

"The father was behind. He had no expression on his face. There was nothing.

"He was carrying the other child. At the time I thought it was shock over what was happening."

Marion Cook was on good neighbourly terms with the Butler family and looked after their puppy after Ellie was taken to hospital.

When Gray came to collect the dog a couple of days later, she "broke down in tears", she said.

Ms Cook said that Gray had told her Ellie "fell off her bed and hit her head on a radiator".