A father who won a battle to have his child returned to his care has been found guilty of murdering her.
Ben Butler, 36, was sentenced to life in prison today for murdering his six-year-old daughter Ellie in October 2013, 11 months after she was returned to his care despite Sutton council and her grandparents fighting to prevent it. He will serve a minimum of 23 years.
Butler, who had a history of assault, was jailed in 2009 after being convicted of shaking Ellie as a baby, after which she was taken into local authority care and lived with her grandparents.
That verdict was later quashed by the Court of Appeal, and, in 2012, he won a High Court challenge to have Ellie returned to his and his partner’s care in 2012, before he murdered her in October 2013.
The Guardian reports that the guilty verdict was unanimous, and the prosecution had said that Butler “consistently teetered on the edge of a violent loss of temper”.
Ellie died of “catastrophic” head injuries, it was reported, and sentencing will take place later today.
Her mother, Jennie Gray, was also convicted of child cruelty in relation to an untreated broken shoulder Ellie suffered. She had already pleaded guilty to covering up her daughter’s death and perverting the course of justice. She was sentence to 42 months in prison.