Ellie Butler's grandfather calls for public inquiry into death


Ellie Butler's death should be subject to a public inquiry, according to the murdered child's grandfather.

Neal Gray said he wants everything "open and above board" as he recalled the suffering of the six-year-old, who was killed by her father Ben Butler in a fit of rage. 

Jobless Butler, 36, who inflicted horrific head injuries on Ellie while left home alone to look after her and her younger sibling in October 2013, has been jailed for a minimum of 23 years for murder.

He was also sentenced to five years to run concurrently for breaking Ellie's shoulder and failing to get her medical attention weeks before her death.

His partner, Jennie Gray, 36, was jailed for 42 months after being found guilty of child cruelty having admitted perverting the course of justice.

Mr Gray and his wife Linda, who died on the first day of the murder trial, were Ellie's maternal grandparents and cared for the child after her father was accused of shaking her as a baby.

They were forced to hand her back 11 months before her death.

Mr Gray said he last saw Ellie during a 30-minute visit at a McDonald's in Sutton, south London, the day before she died.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "She wasn't the Ellie we knew. She had bruises on her forehead and her face and scratches, her hair was all bedraggled, she had odd shoes, odd socks, clothes and she looked as though she'd been dragged through the back of a hedgerow."

Asked if Ellie resisted returning with her parents at the end of the meeting, Mr Gray said: "No. But you could see her eyes were sunk in and there was sadness in her eyes." 

He added: "Now the court case is over I hope to pursue a judicial review or an article 2 inquiry."

Mr Gray went on: "In layman's terms, a public inquiry surrounding this case to find out why the judiciary didn't do their job correctly, why the social services failed Ellie - especially the private side.

"I want it all open and above board, and I want everybody to answer because everybody failed Ellie completely and utterly."