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Peppa Pig cited by defence in father's trial for Ellie Butler murder

Published 08/06/2016

Ellie Butler could have suffered her fatal head injuries in a fall while watching a Peppa Pig DVD, the defence at her father's Old Bailey trial has claimed
Ellie Butler could have suffered her fatal head injuries in a fall while watching a Peppa Pig DVD, the defence at her father's Old Bailey trial has claimed

Children's television character Peppa Pig has been called in the defence of a man accused of murdering his six-year-old daughter.

Jurors in the Old Bailey trial of Ben Butler were shown a four-minute excerpt from the popular cartoon at the close of his case.

The 36-year-old is accused of causing Ellie Butler catastrophic head injuries in a violent rage while home alone with her and another child in October 2013.

But his lawyer, Icah Peart QC, has suggested the little girl may have cracked her skull as a result of an accidental fall while watching a Peppa Pig DVD.

In the extracts, "bossy" Peppa instructs her friends to "jump up and down" and exclaims "leapfrog everybody".

Jurors smiled as Peppa bounced around a pretend moon and went to a "pirate party".

Butler, from Sutton, south west London, denies murder and child cruelty. His partner Jennie Gray, also 36, has admitted perverting the course of justice in the wake of Ellie's death but denied child cruelty.

After viewing the video, prosecutor Ed Brown QC warned the jurors not to be swayed by "fanciful or speculative reasoning".

In his closing speech, he told them to use their "collective common sense and experience of life".

He said: "Juries do not and should not engage in fanciful or speculative reasoning or entertain fanciful suggestions. That is not the task of a jury."

He told the jurors to look at the medical evidence together with what was going on in the Butler household at the time.

Butler "dominated" the family with "self-centred control" and "a temper that could break at any moment", he said.

And Ellie's injuries were so "extreme" and "catastrophic" that they could not have been the result of an accidental fall in her bedroom, the prosecutor said.

He said the defence had tried to use to their advantage Ellie's previous injuries while in Butler's care.

But Mr Brown said: "They do nothing to detract from the extreme and acute injuries that killed that young girl."

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