Ben Butler trial: Murder accused dad denies diverting suspicion to partner

ben butler ellie butler Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption Ben Butler admitted he had a temper but said he was 'in a different world' with his daughter

A father accused of killing his six-year-old daughter in a violent rage has denied trying to divert suspicion towards his partner.

Ben Butler, 36, is accused of inflicting "catastrophic" head injuries on his daughter Ellie.

He told the Old Bailey he would not blame her mother Jennie Gray "for anything".

Mr Butler, from Sutton, south-west London, denies murder and child cruelty.

'Cover up'

He has admitted failing to phone emergency services until two hours after he found Ellie unresponsive in her bedroom on 28 October, 2013.

Mr Butler first contacted Ms Gray at work and told her to come home.

He told the court he then went out to walk the dog. Neighbours have confirmed they spoke to him.

"That means, doesn't it, that Jennie was the sole adult in the house for quite a period of time leading up to the period before you rang the ambulance?" asked Mr Justice Wilkie.

Mr Butler agreed but said he was unsure how long Ms Gray was there.

Shortly after getting back, he rang for an ambulance. A transcript of his conversation with the 999 operator showed Mr Butler was heard to say "What happened, what happened, baby?" to Ms Gray.

He subsequently tells the operator he does not know what happened and had gone upstairs to find Ellie had "fallen down".

Mr Justice Wilkie asked Mr Butler how he would respond to the suggestion there was a "cover up" and he had sought to "transfer suspicion" from himself.

Mr Butler replied: "Absolutely not. I would not blame [Ms Gray] for anything."

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption A still from a video where Mr Butler is heard shouting and swearing while Ellie stood next to him

'Damage was done'

He earlier told jurors the "damage was done" when Ellie fell down the stairs while playing with new puppy Minnie weeks before she died.

Her death was probably his fault because he subsequently failed to take her to hospital - a mistake for which he paid the "ultimate price", he said.

"I believe when she chased Minnie down the stairs I think all the damage is done then and then whatever happened upstairs would not have happened - I don't know what they were doing - if she just jumped and banged her head.

"You know full well what I am telling you is the truth because I have pulled it out and proved it medically. "

The Old Bailey jury has heard Mr Butler was convicted of shaking Ellie as a baby but was cleared on appeal.

Ms Gray denies a charge of child cruelty.

The trial continues.

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