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Ben Butler 'hostile and aggressive' with police after death of daughter Ellie, 6

Published 25/04/2016

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Jennie Gray and Ben Butler in the dock at the Old Bailey in London
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Jennie Gray and Ben Butler in the dock at the Old Bailey in London

A father insisted he was the victim of a "miscarriage of justice" when police tried to talk to him about how his six-year-old daughter had died from a devastating head injury, a court heard.

Ben Butler, 36, allegedly became "hostile" and "aggressive" towards officers and even told one to "f*** off" after little Ellie Butler was pronounced dead in hospital on the afternoon of October 28 2013.

The house husband "stared accusingly" at an officer after he went about collecting the little girl's pink pyjamas for evidence and examined her body for other injuries, the court heard.

And when police at St George's Hospital in Tooting tried to talk to him and his partner Jennie Gray about what happened, they were reluctant to talk, jurors were told.

Pc Steve Stewart said: "I discovered them both to be hostile and unwilling to speak to police until the previous matter was known where they believed there had been a miscarriage of justice."

The court heard how Butler explained he was "nervous" about talking to the authorities because of his previous experience with criminal justice.

He said everything had got "twisted and turned" after Ellie suffered a bleed on the brain at six weeks old.

He allegedly told officers: "Years ago Ellie had a ventouse section delivery and had a bleed on the brain at six weeks old which caused accusations. I went to court, jail, came out.

"They found out it was a medical problem and a miscarriage of justice. I have nothing to hide but that's why I'm nervous. I'm currently suing the police. Everything was twisted and turned."

According to an officer's notes, Butler went on to say that on the day of her death, he had given Ellie a jam sandwich, crisps and Chewitts before Gray arrived home from work early.

The next time he saw his daughter was when she was collapsed on the floor of her bedroom, the defendant allegedly said.

Following his arrest, Butler was observed to quietly mutter to himself "I have done nothing wrong" as he was taken to a police station.

Butler is on trial at the Old Bailey for allegedly murdering Ellie when he was left alone with her and another child at the house.

Butler and Gray, 36, from Sutton, south west London, are also accused of child cruelty towards Ellie, who suffered a broken shoulder weeks before her death.

They deny the charges although Gray has admitted perverting the course of justice by taking part in an alleged attempt at covering up before calling 999.

The court has heard how in 2007 Butler was convicted of harming Ellie when she was six weeks old, but won an appeal and got her daughter back from foster care 11 months before her death.

During searches of the Butlers' home, police found a Peppa Pig: The Fire Engine DVD still in the television set in the bedroom where Ellie was found, as well as a 26cm high pink princess child's chair.

On top of a cupboard they discovered a letter, apparently written by Gray to Butler.

It read: "Dear Ben, I put you first before everything. I did last week and I always will but you make me feel like you hate me and it hurts so much."

Discarded in bins outside the couple's home were ripped up pages from Gray's diary, the court heard. Officers spent weeks piecing together hundreds of scraps.

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

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