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Ben Butler said 'I'm going to get blamed' over Ellie death

ben butler ellie butler Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption Ben Butler said he had "minor violent altercations" with his partner

A father accused of murdering his six-year-old daughter delayed calling an ambulance because he feared being blamed for her death.

Ben Butler, 36, told the Old Bailey he "panicked" and just laid on the floor after finding Ellie hurt in their home in Sutton, south west London.

Mr Butler did not call 999 and when his partner came home they spoke about his wrongful conviction for shaking Ellie as a baby and "how it would look".

He denies murder and child cruelty.

Mr Butler told the court he was having a "lazy day" with his daughter and had taken a nap before finding her lying in her room with her eyes wide open.

He told jurors he "dropped to his knees" but "didn't help the way I should have helped".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ben Butler said he found Ellie dead in the family home in Sutton

"I tried to shake her. She didn't respond to what I did. I tried to breathe in her mouth. It just took the wind out of my sails. I still don't know why I didn't do more," he said.

Mr Butler said he then went back downstairs "in shock" and had a lie down on the floor, where it took him "a while to get up".

The defendant then called his partner Jennie Gray, 36, and told her to come home - but did not tell her why.

The court has previously heard the pair did not call an ambulance for two hours after Mr Butler had first contacted Ms Gray.

'Here we go again'

When defence lawyer Icah Peart QC asked why he did not call an ambulance earlier, Mr Butler replied he was "panicking" and "not thinking straight".

"The one mistake leads to the next thing, to the next thing... Not doing the right thing leads to more problems," he said

He explained to the jury the pair discussed Mr Butler's previous wrongful conviction for shaking Ellie as a baby in 2007 and "how it would look".

"I thought 'oh, here we go again', I'm going to get blamed", he said.

Jennie Gray then called an ambulance and Ellie was rushed to hospital, where she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Image copyright Nick Ansell/PA
Image caption The defendant has admitted he was violent towards his partner Jennie Gray

She denies child cruelty but has admitted perverting the course of justice.

Earlier, Mr Butler admitted he had been violent towards his partner.

"Over the years we have had a lot of tension over a lot of things," he said.

Asked if he ever hit his daughter, Butler said he only ever "tapped her bum".

The trial continues.

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