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Ellie Butler was 'more prone to head injuries' says expert

Ellie Butler Image copyright PA
Image caption Ellie Butler died while at home with her father in 2013

A six-year-old girl whose father is accused of battering her to death could have died from a simple fall as she was more prone to head injuries than other children, a court has heard.

Ellie Butler died after being found with catastrophic head injuries in her bedroom in London in October 2013.

Her father Ben Butler, 36, denies murder and child cruelty charges.

An expert said head injuries sustained in 2007 and two weeks before she died left her susceptible.

The Old Bailey has heard Mr Butler was convicted of causing serious head injuries to Ellie in 2007 but was cleared on appeal.

Ellie was returned to the family home in Sutton, south-west London, 11 months before her death after the couple won a custody battle at the High Court.

Earlier. child forensic pathologist Dr Jan Ophoven told jurors: "She was not like an otherwise normal child because of the previous abnormalities.

"She was at a substantially higher risk of dying from blunt force trauma than any other child."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Her mother Jennie Gray denies child cruelty

Dr Ophoven said the previous injuries had negatively affected the blood-brain barrier membrane, which controls pressure inside the head.

Mr Butler's defence lawyer, Icah Peart, has previously suggested Ellie may have been imitating an episode of Peppa Pig, where a character falls out of bed.

Ellie's mother Jennie Gray, also 36, has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by lying to police and covering up the circumstances of her daughter's death.

She denies child cruelty over claims Ellie did not receive medical attention over a broken shoulder.

The trial continues.

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