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Ellie Butler murder: Father displayed 'pattern of impulsive violence'

Ellie and Ben Butler Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Ben Butler was sentenced to life after being found guilty of murdering his daughter

A man who murdered his six-year-old daughter was described as displaying a "pattern of impulsive violence" months before she died, it has been revealed.

Ellie Butler was killed by Ben Butler at their Sutton home in 2013, 11 months after she was returned to his care.

A pre-sentence report about Butler in July 2013 - three months before he killed his daughter - said he posed a "medium risk of serious harm".

It was revealed after a secret family court ruling from 2014 was made public.

The 36-year-old was sentenced to life with a minimum of 23 years at the Old Bailey in June.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ellie Butler had been living with grandparents before she was returned to her family home
Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Ben Butler was jailed for shaking Ellie when she was a baby but the verdict was later quashed

Family court proceedings were heard by Mrs Justice Eleanor King after Ellie had died, but before the murder trial, to decide the future care of her younger sibling who cannot be named for legal reasons.

In her judgement, the judge described a pre-sentence report which concluded Butler was "medium risk of serious harm to members of the public and staff, specifically when he is under personal stress".

The report was prepared when Butler appeared at Bromley Magistrates' Court for dishonestly claiming housing benefit for over two years.

It added: "There is clearly a pattern of impulsive violence committed. whether within the context of impulsive actions or when in conflict with others."

A spokesman for Sutton Council, which was involved in the care of the children while Ellie was alive, said there was "no evidence of any agency sharing with us the pre-sentence report of July 2013".

The family court judgement, which was released following a ruling by the Court of Appeal, also revealed that Ellie's younger sibling had suffered injuries at the hands of Butler.

"The father was, in my judgment, both routinely violent to the children and the children were regularly in his sole care," Mrs Justice King said.

Image copyright Cascade News
Image caption Ellie Butler died 11 months after returning to her father's care
Image copyright PA
Image caption Jennie Gray was jailed for child cruelty and attempting to pervert the course of justice

On Thursday, a coroner said it was her "preliminary view" some of the agencies involved in Ellie's care should be investigated.

Butler has lodged an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Ellie's mother Jennie Gray was convicted of child cruelty and perverting the course of justice and sentenced to 42 months in prison.

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