by Greg Campbell | June 21, 2016 6:10 pm
Most heinous abusers of children maintain their innocence. One family, however, really stuck to their narrative and fought vehemently to clear their names. They duped countless people and in the end, after their child was returned to them, the child was killed by the abuse that had been suspected previously. Now, these monsters are facing the wrath of an outraged legal system.
From the Daily Mail:
Ben Butler launched a brazen media campaign to win back his little girl Ellie as he trumpeted claims he was the victim of a ‘miscarriage of justice’.
Ben Butler was previously jailed for violently shaking his then-six-week-old daughter, but was later cleared on appeal.
The stay-at-home father then went on prime time television and protested his innocence, bemoaning his treatment by the justice system and claiming Ellie should be returned to him and his partner Jennie Gray.
In a blaze of publicity – which included a series of newspaper interviews – he insisted Ellie had been cruelly prised from their family home by social services and that prosecutors had ‘wasted’ public money pursuing him.
Butler also threatened to sue the Metropolitan police for wrongful arrest, claiming: ‘If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.’
His campaign led to a judge allowing Ellie to be returned to the couple’s care. The judge even called it a ‘joy’ to see them reunited and praised the pair’s ‘tenacity and courage’.
But just eleven months later, Butler had battered the six-year-old to death, leaving her ‘cold’ on the floor of her bedroom as he concocted a false story with Gray to save their own skins.
It would later emerge that he had subjected the little girl to a miserable childhood, reacting with violence and abuse whenever Ellie triggered his ‘frustration and anger’.
The 36-year-old has now been convicted of murdering the little girl in one of the worst cases of domestic violence experts say they have ever seen.
The murder will raise questions about the handling of Butler’s appeal and whether the ruling that Ellie’s injuries were ‘purely accidental’ paved the way for the subsequent tragedy.
During the initial trial in 2009, the court was told how Butler had taken Ellie to St Helier Hospital in south London with serious head injuries when she was just six weeks old.
According to Butler, he had taken her to be treated as soon as he found her ‘limp and gasping for air’ at their home in Sutton, south London.
Doctors quickly diagnosed bleeding on the brain, bleeding in the eye and swelling of brain tissue – all indicators of a deliberately shaken baby.
The little girl was also found with burn injuries on her forehead and hand, which Butler claimed were the result of her rolling off a pillow and hitting a radiator while he was looking after her.
But the case against Butler was dented when Ellie was transferred to St Thomas’s Hospital in central London, where a different team of doctors said her head injuries might have been caused at birth.
Police investigated and the couple were arrested. But although Gray was later told she faced no further action, Butler was convicted in March 2009 at Croydon Crown Court of grievous bodily harm and cruelty.
Almost immediately after being sentenced to 18 months behind bars, Butler launched an appeal. Three months later, he was released so he could fight his case, which was based largely on the findings of the second team of medics.
The conviction was quashed in 2010, with Lord Justice Moses criticising the original trial judge for failing to properly explain to the jury that Ellie had made a full recovery.
‘The recovery cast doubt on a severe shaking injury; indeed it told against a major shaking incident,’ the appeal court judge said.
After Butler’s victory, his confidence grew. By this point, Ellie had been taken into the care of the London Borough of Sutton before being placed with her maternal grandparents.
Butler was only allowed supervised access to Ellie for two hours, twice a year, at a social services contact centre, while Gray was only allowed access six times a year, because of her continual support of her abusive husband.
The pair then fought an audacious and very public battle as they went on a PR offensive to win back their little girl.
In a series of interviews about their alleged ordeal, they lambasted officials for ‘stealing’ their child without any justification.
He even made an appearance on the sofa with Eamonn Holmes on ITV’s This Morning to talk about his ordeal.
Butler also played the victim as he spoke of having to share a cell at Littlehey Prison, Cambridgeshire, with a convicted sex offender…
Butler also claimed that he had never been in trouble with the law, despite having served time in prison for attempted robbery and being convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend on two occasions.
Finally, on 13 October 2012, Mrs Justice Hogg sanctioned the return of Ellie to their parents’ care, praising the couple’s ‘tenacity and courage’ in their fight…
But Butler’s charade was far from over. Those investigating Ellie’s death alleged that he continued to abuse the little girl, who suffering a shocking shoulder injury shortly before her death.
A video shown of her not long before her death showed she had bruising to to her eyes and forehead.
The previous trial provided Butler with ammunition to throw at his accusers after Ellie’s death.
During the murder trial, he has continually referred to his previous case when branding the court ‘biased’ and experts who give evidence ‘corrupt’.
He began ranting about the case when first interviewed at the hospital where Ellie was pronounced dead.
He told a police officer: ‘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 last time was twisted and turned.’
But his conspiracy theories and paranoid claims were less convincing this time around and he now faces life in jail.
These monsters pulled one over on countless people and this little girl paid the price.
While child protective services often interfere with families and should be heavily-scaled back, there is a time and place for government intervention and that is when there is a serious pattern of abuse that could threaten the life of the child.
Sadly, these psychopaths were able to manipulate their way into regaining custody of their child and she is now dead.
Hopefully, Butler will make some new “friends” in prison that have heard about his heinousness…
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