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Ben Butler: Daughter murder accused 'wanted to start fights'

Ellie and Ben Butler Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption Ben Butler denies murdering his daughter Ellie

A father accused of beating to death his daughter in a fit of rage has admitted getting into fights to "improve his mood", a court has heard.

Ben Butler met a psychologist in 2004 after assaulting a man in a nightclub.

Dr Tim Green wrote Mr Butler found it "difficult to control his violence when he felt humiliated" and "historically would become angry and punch people".

The 36-year-old denies murdering six-year-old Ellie at their home in Sutton, south west London, in October 2013.

Dr Green interviewed Mr Butler over four hours after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a man in Kingston upon Thames 12 years ago, the Old Bailey heard.

'Difficult to control'

Prosecutor Ed Brown QC read sections of the report in which Dr Green noted Mr Butler was "co-operative" and answered questions "frankly".

Dr Green wrote: "He stated that he had in the past hoped that situations might present themselves where he could engage in violence.

"He believed that violence could help him improve his mood when he was upset. Historically he would become angry and punch people.

"He was adamant he had never hit anybody without a reason. He also said at times he would find it difficult to control his violence when he felt humiliated or was made fun of."

Image caption Ben Butler and Jennie Gray both deny child cruelty

Ellie died at the family home 11 months after her parents won a custody battle to get her back from care.

The prosecution says Mr Butler had a volatile character and has cited abusive text messages sent to his partner Jennie Gray, 36.

The court has heard he had a string of convictions for assault, including two attacks on his ex-girlfriend in public, all of which he admitted.

Mr Butler and Ms Gray both deny child cruelty. Ms Gray has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.

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