Father accused of murdering Ellie Butler denies diverting jury from truth


The father accused of killing six-year-old Ellie Butler in a violent rage has denied diverting jurors from the truth and claimed: "Children fall over."

Ben Butler, 36, is accused of battering the little girl while his partner was at work causing catastrophic head injuries more commonly seen in car crash victims.

But the former car salesman put her fatal injury down to an accidental fall while she was playing on the stairs with new puppy Minnie weeks before, on October 10 2013.

He denies murdering Ellie on October 28 2013 but has told jurors her death was probably his fault because he failed to take her to hospital - a mistake for which he paid the "ultimate price".

Cross examining, Ed Brown QC said there was no evidence that Ellie was a "clumsy" child at school.

Butler told jurors that Ellie had fallen over "two or three times" and cut her knee.

Mr Brown suggested that a series of injuries in June, August, and more than one incident in October 2013 were not all accidents.

Butler replied: "Children fall over. I have not hid it. I have highlighted it. 

"I believe when she chased Minnie down the stairs I think all the damage is done then and then whatever happened upstairs would not have happened - I don't know what they were doing - if she just jumped and banged her head. It is because of the stairs.

"You know full well she fell down the stairs. There is things I cannot tell you about.

"You know full well what I am telling you is the truth because I have pulled it out and proved it medically. I don't know what to say, there was nothing wrong that day. This probably happened when I was asleep."

The prosecutor alleged that in his mind, the defendant had correlated Ellie with his partner Jennie Gray with whom he had a violent relationship. 

He went on: "I suggest that the aftermath of the death that you caused, Mr Butler, was not a sign of panic.

"You knew, Mr Butler, that the ambulance would not and could not help Ellie Butler because you, in a fit of explosive temper, killed her, hadn't you?"

Butler replied: "Mr Brown, there was nothing wrong that day."

The prosecutor said: "Your character Mr Butler is really characterised by explosive violence. That's your make up."

Butler said while he had "rows with other adults in my life" it was a "different world" when it came to Ellie.

He described how he might tell her off for watching Marmaduke in the early hours or scrawling on the walls but he would "die" for her.

He said: "I'm not guilty of murder. I'm not guilty of manslaughter and there should have been evidence that could have helped on the medical side."

Mr Brown said: "On that day you planned your way out to divert responsibility that should lie with you, Mr Butler.

"And you have sought to divert this jury throughout your evidence, Mr Butler."

The defendant denied being dishonest to the jury even though he accepted he had been dishonest before.

Mr Brown said he knew perfectly well that Ellie had a painful broken shoulder in the weeks before her death but had done nothing to help her.

Butler said no-one knew at the time.

Mr Brown said: "You were responsible for that young girl's death and it was not and could not have been any tragic accident."

Butler replied: "You know full well I did not cause that injury."

The Old Bailey jury has heard Butler was convicted of shaking Ellie as a baby but was cleared on appeal.

He and Gray won a long custody battle and Ellie was returned to their home in Sutton, south west London, 11 months before her death.

Butler denies murder and cruelty over Ellie's untreated broken shoulder.

Gray, 36, denies child cruelty but has admitted perverting the course of justice.